Frye v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 20

FINAL JUDGMENT and ORDER Regarding Plaintiff's Social Security Complaint, signed by Magistrate Judge Erica P. Grosjean on 2/16/17. (CASE CLOSED) (Hellings, J)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 CHRISTINE DALORIES FRYE, Plaintiff, 12 v. 13 14 Case No. 1:15-cv-01819-EPG FINAL JUDGMENT AND ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF’S SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, 15 Defendant. 16 17 This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s complaint for judicial review of an 18 unfavorable decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration regarding her 19 application for supplemental security income and disability insurance benefits. The parties have 20 consented to entry of final judgment by the United States Magistrate Judge under the provisions 21 of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) with any appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (ECF Nos. 6, 22 8.) 23 At the hearing on February 15, 2017, the Court heard from the parties and, having 24 reviewed the record, administrative transcript, the briefs of the parties, the applicable law, and 25 having heard oral argument, finds as follows: 26 For the reasons announced by the Court on the record at the conclusion of the parties’ oral 27 argument on February 15, 2017, the Court finds that the decision of the Commissioner of Social 28 Security should be reversed and the case should be remanded for further proceedings. The 1 1 Administrative Law Judge gave significant weight to the psychiatric evaluation of Plaintiff 2 conducted by Lance A. Portnoff, Ph.D., who determined that Plaintiff would have, among other 3 limitations: (1) “mild to moderate limitations in her ability to interact with coworkers [and] the 4 public”; (2) “moderate limitation in her ability to complete a normal workday or workweek 5 without interruptions from a psychiatric condition due to psychiatric symptoms”; and, (3) 6 moderate limitations in “[h]er ability to deal with work stress encountered in a competitive work 7 environment.” 8 The Administrative Law Judge found that Plaintiff had a residual functional capacity to 9 engage in “simple, routine tasks,” but this residual functional capacity determination does not 10 appear to encompass the above limitations, despite the fact that the Administrative Law Judge 11 appears to have adopted them. On remand, the Administrative Law Judge shall examine the 12 record with respect to the above limitations to determine whether they should be incorporated into 13 the Plaintiff’s residual functional capacity. If they should not be incorporated into the residual 14 functional capacity, the Administrative Law Judge should explain why. Alternatively, the 15 Administrative Law Judge may reformulate the residual functional capacity to include the 16 limitations and continue her analysis using the five step process. 17 Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s appeal from the administrative decision of 18 the Commissioner of Social Security and the case is remanded to the Social Security 19 Administration. The Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to enter judgment in favor of Plaintiff 20 Christine Frye and against Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social 21 Security. 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 24 Dated: February 16, 2017 /s/ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 25 26 27 28 2

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