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Schmidt v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

March 26, 2014

KEITH SCHMIDT, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

BRIAN A. TSUCHIDA, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Keith Schmidt seeks review of the denial of his Supplemental Security Income application. He contends the ALJ erred by (1) failing to account for all limitations identified by Richard Ries, M.D.; (2) rejecting the opinion of social worker Larry McCann; and (3) relying on vocational expert ("VE") testimony that deviates from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles ("DOT"). Dkt. 15 at 1. As discussed below, the Court recommends the case be REVERSED and REMANDED for further administrative proceedings.

BACKGROUND

Mr. Schmidt is currently 60 years old, has a high school diploma and one year of college, and has worked as a food service worker.[1] On June 15, 2010, he applied for benefits, alleging disability as of June 1, 2009. Tr. 20. His application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 88-95, 99-106. The ALJ conducted a hearing on November 29, 2011 (Tr. 35-65), and subsequently found Mr. Schmidt not disabled. Tr. 20-30. As the Appeals Council denied Mr. Schmidt's request for review, the ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's final decision. Tr. 1-5.

THE ALJ'S DECISION

Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [2] the ALJ found:

Step one: Mr. Schmidt did not engage in substantial gainful activity since June 15, 2010, the amended alleged onset date.
Step two: Mr. Schmidt's bipolar disorder v. major depressive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, personality disorder, and opioid dependence are severe.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[3]
Residual Functional Capacity ("RFC"): Mr. Schmidt has the RFC to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels, but is limited to understanding, remembering, following, and carrying out two-step instructions. He should not work with the public, and should have a routine and predictable work environment.
Step four: Mr. Schmidt can perform his past work as a cook helper, and is therefore not disabled.

Tr. 20-30.

DISCUSSION

A. Dr. Ries's ...


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