United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT
J. RICHARD CREATURA, Magistrate Judge.
This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Fed.R.Civ.P. 73 and Local Magistrate Judge Rule MJR 13 ( see also Notice of Initial Assignment to a U.S. Magistrate Judge and Consent Form, ECF No. 3; Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, ECF No. 4). This matter has been fully briefed ( see ECF Nos. 10, 12, 13).
After considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes that the new evidence demonstrates that the ALJ's finding that there is no evidence of an inability to ambulate effectively is not a finding based on substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Therefore, this matter is reversed and remanded pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further consideration.
Plaintiff, JONATHON TAYLOR, was born in 1982 and was 26 years old on the alleged date of disability onset of June 15, 2008 ( see Tr. 206, 208). Plaintiff obtained his GED, but has no further education or training (Tr. 55). Plaintiff has past work experience as an assembly person for a cable company, security person, and lumber yard cleaner (Tr. 55-57). He was last employed in the lumber yard but was injured and has not worked since the injury (Tr. 57).
At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was living in an apartment with a roommate (Tr. 54).
Plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of "adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depression; and degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine with chronic pain (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c))" (Tr. 29).
Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance ("DIB") benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (Title II) and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1382(a) (Title XVI) of the Social Security Act ( see Tr. 206-212). The applications were denied initially and following reconsideration (Tr. 86-87, 96-97). Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Robert P. Kingsley ("the ALJ") on May 2, 2012 ( see Tr. 45-77). On June 25, 2012, the ALJ issued a written decision in which the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to the Social Security Act ( see Tr. 24-44).
On June 28, 2013, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review, making the written decision by the ALJ the final agency decision subject to judicial review (Tr. 1-6). See 20 C.F.R. § 404.981. Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court seeking judicial review of the ALJ's written decision in July, 2013 ( see ECF No. 1). Defendant filed the sealed administrative record regarding this matter ("Tr.") on September 20, 2013 ( see ECF Nos. 7, 8).
In plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) Whether or not the Commissioner erred by failing to find that plaintiff met or equaled a Listing; (2) Whether or not the Commissioner erred in evaluating opinion evidence; (3) Whether or not the Commissioner erred in assessing plaintiff's credibility; (4) Whether or not the Commissioner erred in formulating the Residual Functional Capacity determination; and (5) Whether or not the Commissioner's decision lacked the support of substantial evidence ( see ECF No. 10, p. 2).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court may set aside the Commissioner's denial of social security benefits if the ALJ's findings are based on legal error or not supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Bayliss v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211, 1214 n.1 (9th Cir. 2005) ( citing Tidwell v. Apfel, 161 F.3d 599, 601 (9th Cir. 1999)). "Substantial evidence" is more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance, and is such "relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a ...