Spayd v. Colvin

Filing 22

ORDER: (1) Adopting Report and Recommendation; (2) Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment; (3) Denying Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment; and (4) Remanding Case to Social Security Administration. Signed by Judge Janis L. Sammartino on 8/14/2017. (mpl)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 12 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 13 14 15 AARON SPAYD, Case No.: 16-CV-1353 JLS (JLB) Plaintiff, 16 17 v. 18 ORDER: (1) ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; (2) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; (3) DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; AND (4) REMANDING CASE TO SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, 19 Defendant. 20 21 22 23 (ECF Nos. 16, 18, 21) 24 25 Presently before the Court are Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 26 16), and Defendant’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 18). The Court 27 referred the motions to Magistrate Judge Jill L. Burkhardt, who subsequently issued a 28 thorough, twenty-one-page Report and Recommendation recommending that the Court 1 16-CV-1353 JLS (JLB) 1 grant in part and deny in part Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment, deny Defendant’s 2 Motion for Summary Judgment, and remand the matter to the Social Security 3 Administration for further proceedings (“R. & R.”). (ECF No. 21.) Having reviewed the 4 Parties’ motions, Judge Burkhardt’s Report and Recommendation, and the underlying 5 Administrative Record, (ECF No. 13), the Court ADOPTS Judge Burkhardt’s Report and 6 Recommendation in its entirety. 7 LEGAL STANDARD 8 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) set forth a district 9 court’s duties in connection with a magistrate judge’s Report and Recommendation. The 10 district court must “make a de novo determination of those portions of the report to which 11 objection is made,” and “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or 12 recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also United 13 States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 673–76 (1980); United States v. Remsing, 874 F.2d 614, 14 617 (9th Cir. 1989). In the absence of timely objection, however, the Court “need only 15 satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the 16 recommendation.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 72 advisory committee’s note (citing Campbell v. U.S. 17 Dist. Court, 501 F.2d 196, 206 (9th Cir. 1974)). 18 ANALYSIS 19 In the present case, neither party objected to Judge Burkhardt’s Report and 20 Recommendation. And the Court here finds no clear error on the face of the record. The 21 Court agrees that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) below “failed to articulate specific 22 and legitimate reasons to discount [both] Dr. Kistler’s opinions” and “Plaintiff’s statements 23 concerning the limiting effects on the use of his hands as a result of his symptoms.” 24 (R. & R. 6; see also id. at 15–19 (noting, in sum, that: several of Defendant’s motion-based 25 arguments are post-hoc rationales not articulated by the ALJ; the ALJ “fail[ed] to point to 26 any medical evidence in support of [his] conclusion” regarding Plaintiff’s alleged mental 27 limitations, whereas Plaintiff supplied ample evidence supporting the contrary conclusion; 28 the ALJ “discounted Plaintiff’s testimony regarding the use of his hands” without any 2 16-CV-1353 JLS (JLB) 1 meaningful analysis whatsoever; and each error may affect the ultimate disability 2 determination).)1 Furthermore, the Court agrees that although the ALJ’s errors were not 3 harmless, remanding for further consideration is appropriate given that in this case 4 “enhancement of the record would be useful.” (Id. at 19–20 (quoting Benecke v. Barnhart, 5 379 F.3d 587, 593 (9th Cir. 2004)).) 6 CONCLUSION 7 Given the foregoing, the Court ADOPTS Judge Burkhardt’s Report and 8 Recommendation in its entirety, (ECF No. 21); GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN 9 PART Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 16); DENIES Defendant’s 10 Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 18); and REMANDS the case to the Social 11 Security Administration for further proceedings. Because this concludes the litigation in 12 this matter, the Clerk SHALL close the file. 13 14 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: August 14, 2017 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 The Court also agrees that the ALJ provided specific and legitimate reasons, supported by substantial evidence in the record, to discount Dr. Recalde’s opinion. (See R. & R. 7–15 (explaining that ALJ properly gave no weight to Dr. Recalde’s Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”) determination because: Dr. Recalde did not exhibit familiarity with Plaintiff either commensurate with a “treating physician” as contemplated by the Social Security Regulations or adequate to form a meaningful opinion regarding the extent of Plaintiff’s alleged disability; Dr. Recalde’s opinion was contradicted by the record and lacked any supporting test results; Dr. Recalde rarely (if ever) actually saw Plaintiff and did not attach all relevant medical documentation to his completed RFC questionnaire despite being given the opportunity to do so; and that the ALJ properly considered the contrary opinion of a consultative examiner, Dr. Dao, in rejecting Dr. Recalde’s opinion).) 3 16-CV-1353 JLS (JLB)

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