Jaclyn Delice Cali v. Carolyn W. Colvin, No. 2:2016cv06679 - Document 22 (C.D. Cal. 2017)

Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND by Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian. The decision of the Commissioner of Social Security is reversed in part, and this matter is remanded for further administrative action consistent with this Opinion. See Order for details. (dml)
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Jaclyn Delice Cali v. Carolyn W. Colvin Doc. 22 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 JACLYN DELICE CALI, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 15 v. Case No. CV 16-6679 JC MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security,1 16 Defendant. 17 18 I. 19 SUMMARY On September 6, 2016, Jaclyn Delice Cali (“plaintiff”) filed a Complaint 20 seeking review of the Commissioner of Social Security’s denial of plaintiff’s 21 application for benefits. The parties have consented to proceed before the 22 undersigned United States Magistrate Judge. 23 This matter is before the Court on the parties’ cross motions for summary 24 judgment, respectively (“Plaintiff’s Motion”) and (“Defendant’s Motion”). The 25 Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See Fed. 26 R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15; September 7, 2016 Case Management Order ¶ 5. 27 28 1 Pursuant to Rule 25(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Nancy A. Berryhill is hereby substituted for Carolyn W. Colvin as the defendant in this action. Dockets.Justia.com 1 Based on the record as a whole and the applicable law, the decision of the 2 Commissioner is REVERSED AND REMANDED for further proceedings 3 consistent with this Memorandum Opinion and Order of Remand. 4 II. BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE 5 DECISION 6 On August 17, 2011, plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance 7 Benefits alleging disability beginning on February 16, 2011, due to trigeminal 8 neuralgia, supraventricular tachycardia (svt), depression, and restless leg 9 syndrome. (Administrative Record (“AR”) 12, 140, 164). 10 On October 24, 2012, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) determined 11 that plaintiff was not disabled through the date of the decision (“Pre-Remand 12 Decision”). (AR 12-22). The Appeals Council denied plaintiff’s application for 13 review of the Pre-Remand Decision. (AR 1). 14 On January 28, 2015, a different United States Magistrate Judge entered 15 judgment reversing and remanding the case for further proceedings because the 16 ALJ had improperly evaluated plaintiff’s subjective complaints. (AR 401-13). 17 The Appeals Council in turn remanded the case for a new hearing. (AR 414-16). 18 On remand, the ALJ held a hearing on April 14, 2016 (“Post-Remand Hearing”), 19 during which the ALJ heard testimony from plaintiff (who was represented by 20 counsel) and a vocational expert. (AR 305-37). 21 On May 26, 2016, the ALJ again determined that plaintiff was not disabled 22 through the date of the decision (“Post-Remand Decision”). (AR 288-99). 23 Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe 24 impairments: anxiety, asthma, depression, hypertension, migraine headaches, and 25 trigeminal neuralgia (AR 290); (2) plaintiff’s impairments, considered singly or in 26 combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment (AR 290-91); 27 (3) plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform work at all 28 /// 2 1 exertional levels with additional nonexertional limitations2 (AR 292); (4) plaintiff 2 could not perform any past relevant work (AR 297); (5) there are jobs that exist in 3 significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could perform, 4 specifically receptionist, appointment clerk, and general clerk (AR 298); and 5 (6) plaintiff’s statements regarding the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects 6 of subjective symptoms were “not entirely consistent with the medical evidence 7 and other evidence in the record” (AR 292). 8 III. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS 9 A. Sequential Evaluation Process To qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must show that the claimant is 10 11 unable “to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically 12 determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in 13 death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not 14 less than 12 months.” Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir. 2012) 15 (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A)) (internal quotation marks omitted). The 16 impairment must render the claimant incapable of performing the work the 17 claimant previously performed and incapable of performing any other substantial 18 gainful employment that exists in the national economy. Tackett v. Apfel, 180 19 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A)). In assessing whether a claimant is disabled, an ALJ is required to use the 20 21 following five-step sequential evaluation process: (1) 22 Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful activity? If so, the claimant is not disabled. If not, proceed to step two. 23 24 /// 25 26 27 28 2 The ALJ determined that plaintiff could perform work that (i) “requires no fast-paced quotas and is otherwise low stress”; (ii) has a specific vocational preparation (“SVP”) level of five or less; and (iii) requires no more than occasional bending over, and no concentrated exposure to fumes, odors, gases, and dust. (AR 292). 3 1 (2) Is the claimant’s alleged impairment sufficiently severe to limit 2 the claimant’s ability to work? If not, the claimant is not 3 disabled. If so, proceed to step three. 4 (3) Does the claimant’s impairment, or combination of 5 impairments, meet or equal an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. 6 Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (“Listings”)? If so, the 7 claimant is disabled. If not, proceed to step four. 8 (4) perform claimant’s past relevant work? If so, the claimant is 9 not disabled. If not, proceed to step five. 10 11 Does the claimant possess the residual functional capacity to (5) Does the claimant’s residual functional capacity, when 12 considered with the claimant’s age, education, and work 13 experience, allow the claimant to adjust to other work that 14 exists in significant numbers in the national economy? If so, 15 the claimant is not disabled. If not, the claimant is disabled. 16 Stout v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration, 454 F.3d 1050, 1052 (9th 17 Cir. 2006) (citations omitted); see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4). 18 The claimant has the burden of proof at steps one through four, and the 19 Commissioner has the burden of proof at step five. Burch v. Barnhart, 400 F.3d 20 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). 21 B. 22 Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 405(g), a court may set aside a denial of Standard of Review 23 benefits only if it is not supported by substantial evidence or if it is based on legal 24 error. Robbins v. Social Security Administration, 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 25 2006) (citing Flaten v. Secretary of Health & Human Services, 44 F.3d 1453, 1457 26 (9th Cir. 1995)). 27 Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might 28 accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 4 1 401 (1971) (citations and quotations omitted). It is more than a mere scintilla but 2 less than a preponderance. Robbins, 466 F.3d at 882 (citing Young v. Sullivan, 3 911 F.2d 180, 183 (9th Cir. 1990)). To determine whether substantial evidence 4 supports a finding, a court must “‘consider the record as a whole, weighing both 5 evidence that supports and evidence that detracts from the [Commissioner’s] 6 conclusion.’” Aukland v. Massanari, 257 F.3d 1033, 1035 (9th Cir. 2001) 7 (quoting Penny v. Sullivan, 2 F.3d 953, 956 (9th Cir. 1993)). 8 While an ALJ’s decision need not discuss every piece of evidence or be 9 drafted with “ideal clarity,” at a minimum it must explain the ALJ’s reasoning 10 with sufficient specificity and clarity to “allow[] for meaningful review.” Brown11 Hunter v. Colvin, 806 F.3d 487, 492 (9th Cir. 2015) (citations and internal 12 quotation marks omitted); Hiler v. Astrue, 687 F.3d 1208, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012) 13 (citation and quotation marks omitted); see also Craft v. Astrue, 539 F.3d 668, 673 14 (7th Cir. 2008) (ALJ must provide “accurate and logical bridge” between evidence 15 and conclusion that claimant is not disabled so reviewing court “may assess the 16 validity of the agency’s ultimate findings”) (citation and quotation marks omitted); 17 see generally 42 U.S.C. § 405(b)(1) (“ALJ’s unfavorable decision must, among 18 other things, “set[] forth a discussion of the evidence” and state “the reason or 19 reasons upon which it is based”). 20 An ALJ’s decision to deny benefits must be upheld if the evidence could 21 reasonably support either affirming or reversing the decision. Robbins, 466 F.3d 22 at 882 (citing Flaten, 44 F.3d at 1457). Nonetheless, a court may not affirm 23 “simply by isolating a ‘specific quantum of supporting evidence.’” Id. at 882 24 (citation omitted). In addition, federal courts may review only the reasoning in the 25 administrative decision itself, and may affirm a denial of benefits only for the 26 reasons upon which the ALJ actually relied. Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 27 1010 (9th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). 28 /// 5 1 Even when an ALJ’s decision contains error, it must be affirmed if the error 2 was harmless. Treichler v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration, 775 3 F.3d 1090, 1099 (9th Cir. 2014). An ALJ’s error is harmless if (1) it was 4 inconsequential to the ultimate nondisability determination; or (2) despite the 5 error, the ALJ’s path may reasonably be discerned, even if the ALJ’s decision was 6 drafted with less than ideal clarity. Id. (citation and quotation marks omitted). 7 A reviewing court may not conclude that an error was harmless based on 8 independent findings gleaned from the administrative record. Brown-Hunter, 806 9 F.3d at 492 (citations omitted). When a reviewing court cannot confidently 10 conclude that an error was harmless, a remand for additional investigation or 11 explanation is generally appropriate. See Marsh v. Colvin, 792 F.3d 1170, 1173 12 (9th Cir. 2015) (citations omitted). 13 IV. DISCUSSION 14 Plaintiff contends that the ALJ improperly rejected certain medical opinions 15 provided by Dr. Gopal Gabbur, a state agency examining psychiatrist. (Plaintiff’s 16 Motion at 9-10). The Court agrees. As the Court cannot find that the ALJ’s error 17 was harmless, a remand is warranted. 18 A. 19 In an October 25, 2011 report of a Complete Psychiatric Evaluation (which Pertinent Facts 20 included review of plaintiff’s medical records, and a mental status examination of 21 plaintiff), Dr. Gabbur, in part diagnosed plaintiff with major depressive disorder 22 (single, moderate), and anxiety disorder (not otherwise specified), and provided 23 the following “Functional Assessment” for plaintiff (collectively “Dr. Gabbur’s 24 Opinions”): 25 26 The [plaintiff’s] ability to follow simple oral and written instructions was moderately limited. 27 Her ability to follow detailed instructions was severely limited. 28 Her ability to interact with the public, coworkers and supervisor [sic] 6 1 was not limited. The [plaintiff’s] ability to comply with job rules, 2 such as safety and attendance, was mildly limited. Her ability to 3 respond to changes in a routine work setting was not limited. Her 4 ability to respond to work pressure in a usual working setting was 5 mildly limited. Her daily activities were mildly limited. 6 (AR 245-49). 7 In the Pre-Remand Decision, the ALJ gave “significant probative weight” to 8 Dr. Gabbur’s Opinions, explaining: Based on his clinical findings and observations, Dr. Gabbur 9 10 opined the [plaintiff’s] mental impairments caused moderate 11 limitation in her ability to follow simple oral and written instructions, 12 and severe limitation in her ability to follow detailed instructions. 13 However, her mental impairments caused only mild limitation in the 14 following work-related activities: complying with job rules; 15 responding to changes in a routine work setting; and responding to 16 work pressure in a routine work setting. Further, her mental 17 impairments caused no limitation in responding to changes in a 18 routine work setting (Exhibit 2F/5 [AR 249]). This opinion is 19 deserving of significant probative weight because it is consistent with 20 the objective medical evidence, which showed some signs of 21 depressed and anxious mood and impaired concentration, but 22 otherwise normal cognitive, expressive, intellectual, and receptive 23 function. Further, as a psychiatrist, Dr. Gabbur has knowledge, 24 training, and a perspective that could reasonably be expected to give 25 him greater insight into the limitations imposed by the [plaintiff’s] 26 mental impairments. 27 (AR 19-20). 28 /// 7 1 In the Post-Remand Decision, the ALJ gave “significant probative weight” 2 to the opinions provided by the reviewing, state agency medical consultants, Drs. 3 Herbert Ochitill and R. Tashjian. The ALJ explained: [B]oth State agency medical consultants[] opined the [plaintiff] 4 5 could understand, remember, and carry out simple and some detailed 6 tasks. They opined the [plaintiff’s] depression would slow the 7 [plaintiff’s] work pace, but would not prevent the [plaintiff] from 8 adequate concentration, persistence, and pace over extended periods 9 (Exhibit 1A/8-10 [AR 64-66]; Exhibit 3A/8-9 [AR 77-78]). These 10 opinions are deserving of significant probative weight because they 11 are largely consistent with each other and the objective medical 12 evidence, which shows a history of complaints of anxious and 13 depressive symptoms, but otherwise mostly normal cognitive, 14 expressive, intellectual, receptive, and social functioning. Dr. 15 Ochitill and Dr. Tashjian had the opportunity to review a considerable 16 portion of the relevant documentary evidence. Further, as 17 psychiatrists, Dr. Ochitill and Dr. Tashjian have knowledge, training, 18 and a perspective that could reasonably be expected to give them 19 greater insight into the limitations imposed by the [plaintiff’s] mental 20 impairments. 21 (AR 296). 22 In the Post-Remand Decision, the ALJ rejected portions of Dr. Gabbur’s 23 Opinions, explaining as follows: 24 Based on his clinical findings and observations, Dr. Gabbur 25 opined the [plaintiff’s] mental impairments caused moderate 26 limitation in the [plaintiff’s] ability to follow simple oral and written 27 instructions and severe limitation in the [plaintiff’s] ability to follow 28 detailed instructions (Exhibit 2F/5 [AR 249]). This opinion is 8 1 deserving of little probative weight because it is not supported by the 2 other evidence of record, including the objective medical evidence, as 3 discussed above, and the opinions of Dr. [Herbert] Ochitill and Dr. 4 [R.] Tashjian [state agency reviewing doctors], which the undersigned 5 has determined are deserving of significant probative weight. 6 (AR 296). 7 B. 8 In Social Security cases, the amount of weight given to medical opinions Pertinent Law 9 generally varies depending on the type of medical professional who provided the 10 opinions, namely “treating physicians,” “examining physicians,” and 11 “nonexamining physicians.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1527(c)(1)-(2) & (e), 404.1502, 12 404.1513(a); Garrison, 759 F.3d at 1012 (citation and quotation marks omitted). 13 A treating physician’s opinion is generally given the most weight, and may be 14 “controlling” if it is “well-supported by medically acceptable clinical and 15 laboratory diagnostic techniques and is not inconsistent with the other substantial 16 evidence in [the claimant’s] case record[.]” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2); Orn v. 17 Astrue, 495 F.3d 625, 631 (9th Cir. 2007) (citations and quotation marks omitted). 18 In turn, an examining, but non-treating physician’s opinion is entitled to less 19 weight than a treating physician’s, but more weight than a nonexamining 20 physician’s opinion. Garrison, 759 F.3d at 1012 (citation omitted). 21 An ALJ may reject the uncontroverted opinion of an examining physician 22 by providing “clear and convincing reasons that are supported by substantial 23 evidence” for doing so. Bayliss v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211, 1216 (9th Cir. 2005) 24 (citation omitted). Where an examining physician’s opinion is contradicted by 25 another doctor’s opinion, an ALJ may reject the examining physician’s opinion 26 only “by providing specific and legitimate reasons that are supported by 27 substantial evidence.” Garrison, 759 F.3d at 1012 (citation and footnote omitted). 28 /// 9 1 An ALJ may provide “substantial evidence” for rejecting a medical opinion 2 by “setting out a detailed and thorough summary of the facts and conflicting 3 clinical evidence, stating his [or her] interpretation thereof, and making findings.” 4 Id. (citing Reddick v. Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 725 (9th Cir. 1998)) (quotation marks 5 omitted). An ALJ must provide more than mere “conclusions” or “broad and 6 vague” reasons for rejecting an examining physician’s opinion. Embrey v. Bowen, 7 849 F.2d 418, 421 (9th Cir. 1988); McAllister v. Sullivan, 888 F.2d 599, 602 (9th 8 Cir. 1989) (citation omitted). “[The ALJ] must set forth his [or her] own 9 interpretations and explain why they, rather than the [physician’s], are correct.” 10 Embrey, 849 F.2d at 421-22. 11 C. 12 Here, a remand is warranted to permit the ALJ to reevaluate the medical Analysis 13 opinion evidence regarding plaintiff’s mental impairments. 14 First, the ALJ’s evaluation of Dr. Gabbur’s Opinions appears to be 15 inconsistent. For example, in the Pre-Remand Decision the ALJ apparently gave 16 “significant probative weight” to all of Dr. Gabbur’s Opinions, while in the Post17 Remand Decision the ALJ gave “little probative weight” to a portion of Dr. 18 Gabbur’s Opinions. (Compare AR 19-20 with AR 296). The ALJ did not provide 19 any explanation for the apparent inconsistency. 20 Second, the ALJ purportedly rejected Dr. Gabbur’s opinions that plaintiff 21 had “moderate limitation in [her] ability to follow simple . . . instructions,” and 22 “severe limitation in [her] ability to follow detailed instructions” (collectively “Dr. 23 Gabbur’s Task Limitations”) in part, because such opinions were “not supported 24 by the other evidence of record, including the objective medical evidence, as 25 discussed above[.]” (AR 296). Nonetheless, the ALJ failed to explain precisely 26 how the objective medical evidence or “other evidence” as a whole undermined 27 Dr. Gabbur’s Task Limitations. The broad and vague reasons provided by the ALJ 28 are insufficient for giving less weight to any of Dr. Gabbur’s Opinions. See 10 1 McAllister, 888 F.2d at 602. Defendant suggests that the ALJ might have been 2 able to reject Dr. Gabbur’s Task Limitations on other grounds. (Defendant’s 3 Motion at 9-10). However, the ALJ did not do so in the Post-Remand Decision 4 and this Court may not affirm the ALJ’s non-disability determination on the 5 additional grounds the defendant proffers. See Garrison, 759 F.3d at 1010 6 (citation omitted). 7 Third, the ALJ also rejected Dr. Gabbur’s Task Limitations purportedly 8 because they were “not supported by . . . the opinions of Dr. Ochitill and Dr. 9 Tashjian. . . .” (AR 296). The mere fact that the opinions of the state agency 10 reviewing doctors in some manner conflicted with Dr. Gabbur’s Task Limitations, 11 however, is not a specific or legitimate reason for rejecting any portion of Dr. 12 Gabbur’s Opinions. See Garrison, 759 F.3d at 1012 (citations omitted); cf, e.g., 13 Brewer v. Astrue, 2013 WL 140241, *2 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 9, 2013) (“[T]he 14 contradiction of a treating physician’s opinion by another physician’s opinion 15 triggers rather than satisfies the requirement of stating ‘specific, legitimate 16 reasons.’”) (citations omitted). 17 Even so, the opinions provided by Drs. Ochitill and Tashjian do not 18 constitute substantial evidence for rejecting of Dr. Gabbur’s Task Limitations. For 19 example, the state agency reviewing doctors provided their opinions very shortly 20 after Dr. Gabbur did (i.e., on November 8, 2011 and February 6, 2012) and 21 apparently relied almost entirely on the same objective findings as Dr. Gabbur 22 (i.e., other medical evidence of record that Dr. Gabbur may also have reviewed as 23 well as the results of Dr. Gabbur’s own examination of plaintiff). (AR 61-62, 6424 66, 74-78, 246); see Tonapetyan v. Halter, 242 F.3d 1144, 1149 (9th Cir. 2001) 25 (contrary opinion of non-examining medical expert may be “substantial evidence” 26 supporting an ALJ’s decision only to the extent it is consistent with other 27 independent medical evidence) (citation omitted); cf. Orn, 495 F.3d at 632 (“When 28 an examining physician relies on the same clinical findings as a treating physician, 11 1 but differs only in his or her conclusions, the conclusions of the examining 2 physician are not ‘substantial evidence.’”). Indeed, the Social Security Disability 3 Determination records suggest that plaintiff’s claim could not adequately be 4 evaluated without a psychiatric consultative examination like Dr. Gabbur’s. (See, 5 e.g., AR 61, 74 [Disability Determination Explanation at Initial and 6 Reconsideration levels noting need for consultative examination(s) because “[t]he 7 evidence as a whole, both medical and non-medical, [was] not sufficient to support 8 a decision on the claim” and “[s]pecialized medical evidence . . . [was] not 9 available from the [plaintiff’s] treating or other medical sources.”]). 10 Moreover, even if, for the sake of argument, the ALJ properly gave the most 11 weight to the opinions regarding plaintiff’s mental limitations provided by Drs. 12 Ochitill and Tashjian, the Post-Remand Decision still failed properly to account 13 for those opinions. As the Post-Remand Decision noted, Drs. Ochitill and 14 Tashjian opined, in pertinent part, that plaintiff had the residual functional 15 capacity to “understand, remember, and carry out simple and some detailed tasks.” 16 (AR 65, 77-78, 296). The ALJ’s residual functional capacity assessment for 17 plaintiff, however, did not include any restriction on the skill level of work 18 plaintiff could perform. The ALJ did limit plaintiff to “low stress” jobs. (AR 19 292). Such restriction, however, did not necessarily account for the limitations in 20 plaintiff’s ability to complete job tasks of any particular complexity. Cf., e.g., 21 Social Security Ruling 85-15, 1985 WL 56857, *5-*6 (“skill level” of work “not 22 necessarily related to” a claimant’s ability to handle stress in the workplace). The 23 ALJ also limited plaintiff to work involving SVP levels of five or less. (AR 292). 24 Nonetheless, a job’s degree of simplicity is addressed by General Educational 25 Development (“GED”) reasoning development rating, not the level of SVP. See, 26 e.g., Meissl v. Barnhart, 403 F. Supp. 2d 981, 983 (C.D. Cal. 2005) (“SVP ratings 27 speak to the issue of the level of vocational preparation necessary to perform the 28 /// 12 1 job, not directly to the issue of a job’s simplicity. . . .”) (citation and quotation 2 marks omitted). Finally, the Court cannot confidently conclude that the ALJ’s errors were 3 4 harmless. For example, as noted above, Dr. Gabbur opined, in part, that plaintiff’s 5 “ability to follow simple . . . instructions” was “moderately limited.” (AR 249). 6 At the Post-Remand Hearing, the vocational expert testified that there would be no 7 jobs available if a hypothetical individual like plaintiff had a 10 to 15 percent 8 reduction in the ability to follow simple oral and written instructions. (AR 334). 9 Moreover, the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (“DOT”)3 reflects that each of the 10 representative occupations the ALJ identified at step five requires Level 3 11 reasoning development – a level of complexity which appears to exceed the 12 abilities of a claimant who can understand, remember, and carry out only “some 13 detailed tasks” – as Drs. Ochitill and Tashjian found for plaintiff. See DOT 14 § 237.367-038 [“Receptionist”], DOT § 237.367-010 [“Appointment Clerk”]; 15 DOT § 209.562-010 [“Clerk, General”]. In light of the foregoing, the Court 16 cannot confidently conclude that the failure properly to consider Dr. Gabbur’s 17 Task Limitations was inconsequential to the ALJ’s nondisability determination at 18 step five. Accordingly, a remand is required, at a minimum, so the ALJ can reevaluate 19 20 the medical opinion evidence regarding plaintiff’s mental impairments. 21 /// 22 /// 23 /// 24 /// 25 26 27 28 3 The DOT is the Social Security Administration’s “‘primary source of reliable job information’ regarding jobs that exist in the national economy.” Zavalin v. Colvin, 778 F.3d 842, 845-46 (9th Cir. 2015) (citing Terry v. Sullivan, 903 F.2d 1273, 1276 (9th Cir. 1990)); see also 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1566(d)(1), 404.1569. 13 1 V. CONCLUSION4 2 For the foregoing reasons, the decision of the Commissioner of Social 3 Security is reversed in part, and this matter is remanded for further administrative 4 action consistent with this Opinion.5 5 LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY. 6 DATED: April 4, 2017 _____________/s/____________________ Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 4 The Court need not, and has not adjudicated plaintiff’s other challenges to the ALJ’s 23 decision, except insofar as to determine that a reversal and remand for immediate payment of 24 benefits would not be appropriate. 25 26 27 28 5 When a court reverses an administrative determination, “the proper course, except in rare circumstances, is to remand to the agency for additional investigation or explanation.” Immigration & Naturalization Service v. Ventura, 537 U.S. 12, 16 (2002) (citations and quotations omitted). Remand is proper where, as here, “additional proceedings can remedy defects in the original administrative proceeding. . . .” Garrison, 759 F.3d at 1019 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). 14