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Lang v. Colvin

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

May 22, 2014

SHROMA H. LANG, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

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. 5; Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, ECF No. 6). This matter has been fully briefed ( see ECF Nos. 14, 15, 16).

After considering and reviewing the record, the Court finds that the ALJ erred in reviewing the medical evidence. The ALJ failed to credit fully an examining doctor's opinion by finding that the opinion was inconsistent with plaintiff's reported activities. However, the doctor's opinion regarding difficulties with work pressures and adequate pace are not inconsistent with plaintiff's reported activities.

Therefore, this matter is reversed and remanded pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further administrative consideration.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, SHROMA H. LANG, was born in 1955 and was 46 years old on the alleged date of disability onset of January 1, 2002 ( see Tr. 135-141, 142-148). At the hearing, plaintiff amended the alleged date of disability onset to February 25, 2010 (Tr. 38-40). Plaintiff dropped out of school after the ninth grade but later obtained his GED (Tr. 43, 241). Plaintiff has work experience in construction, asbestos abatement and various temporary jobs through a temp service (Tr. 41-43).

Plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of "a learning disorder; major depressive disorder; general anxiety disorder; posttraumatic stress disorder; and substance abuse disorder (10 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c))" (Tr. 18).

At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was living at a homeless shelter (Tr. 40).

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

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. 135-41, 142-148; see also Tr. 61-64, 68-79). Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Robert P. Kingsley ("the ALJ") on November 15, 2011 ( see Tr. 34-56). On December 12, 2011, the ALJ issued a written decision in which the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to the Social Security Act ( see Tr.13-33).

In plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) Did the ALJ err in reviewing the medical evidence; (2) Did the ALJ err by using improper reasons for rejecting the observations of Robert Badgley, a social worker; (3) Did the ALJ make an improper credibility assessment; and (4) Did the ALJ err by failing to incorporate all relevant limitations in the hypothetical question posed to the VE ( see ECF No. 14, pp. 1-2).

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. ...


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