United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable Deborah M. Fine United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is the Commissioner's Motion for Remand
Pursuant to Sentence Four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Doc.
17) Plaintiff has filed a response in opposition. (Doc. 18)
No reply was filed. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and with the parties' consent to
Magistrate Judge jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(c). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will order
the final decision of the Commissioner to be vacated and will
remand this matter to the Commissioner for limited further
proceedings consistent with this Order.
Plaintiff filed this action for review of the final decision
of the Commissioner for Social Security pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). (Doc. 1) In the pending motion, the
Commissioner moves this court to remand the action for
further proceedings pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). (Doc. 17)
filed this action on June 7, 2019, for review of the final
decision of the Commissioner denying his claim to disability
insurance benefits. (Doc. 1) He filed his opening brief on
October 16, 2019. (Doc. 15) On November 14, 2019, the
Commissioner filed the pending motion to remand the action.
He concedes his “final decision was not supported by
substantial evidence and judgment for Plaintiff is
appropriate.” (Doc. 17 at 2) The Commissioner notes
[i]n September 2015, B. Boyack, M.D., performed a
consultative examination of Plaintiff as part of
Plaintiff's application for benefits (AR 586-588). Dr.
Boyack concluded that Claimant had a left shoulder rotator
cuff injury that impacted his range of motion (AR 588). Dr.
Boyack opined that Claimant could perform a range of light
work, but could only perform occasional reaching (AR 589-90).
In the hearing decision, the ALJ found that Claimant had the
RFC to perform a reduced range of light work, but did not
include a limitation to occasional reaching (AR 24). The ALJ
did not discuss Dr. Boyack's opinion (AR 27-28). The ALJ
erred because he did not explain his departure from  Dr.
Boyack's opinion that Claimant was limited to occasional
reaching. See SSR 96-8p (“If the RFC
assessment conflicts with an opinion from a medical source,
the adjudicator must explain why the opinion was not
(Id. at 2-3) The Commissioner moves this court to
remand the case to allow the ALJ to “reevaluate the
medical evidence, including but not limited to the medical
opinions; take further action as warranted; and issue a new
decision.” (Id. at 3)
however, opposes remand for further administrative
proceedings because he concludes the case should be remanded
for payment of benefits. (Doc. 18 at 4)
general, if the court finds the decision of the ALJ denying
benefits was error, the court may remand for payment of
benefits rather than for further proceedings, provided
“the record has been developed fully and further
administrative proceedings would serve no useful
purpose.” Strauss v. Commissioner of the Social
Sec. Admin., 635 F.3d 1135, 1138 (9th Cir.
2011); see also Rodriguez v. Bowen, 876
F.2d 759, 763 (9th Cir. 1989).
the Court finds that remand for additional findings is
appropriate to remedy the defect conceded by the
Commissioner, that is, the ALJ's failure to consider Dr.
Boyack's findings of Claimant's limitations.
remand, the ALJ's consideration of the record will be
limited to expressly addressing the opinions of Dr. Boyack
and Claimant's limitations Dr. Boyack identified. The ALJ
will address how the consideration of Dr. Boyack's
opinions impacts Claimant's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) and will obtain supplemental testimony
from a vocational expert, if necessary. The ALJ will reassess
the RFC, considering all impairments, and will then evaluate
Claimant's ability to perform any work available in the
IT IS ORDERED that the Commissioner's
Motion for Remand Pursuant to Sentence Four of 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) is granted, subject to the limitations
specified herein. (Doc. 17)
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security is vacated and this matter is
remanded to the Commissioner for ...