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Morrison v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

May 29, 2014

RAYMOND E. MORRISON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant

Decided Date: May 28, 2014.

Page 1226

For Raymond E Morrison, Plaintiff: Maureen J Rosette, LEAD ATTORNEY, Dana Madsen Law Office, Spokane, WA.

For Carolyn W Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant: Jordan Dylan Goddard, LEAD ATTORNEY, Social Security Administration, Seattle, WA; Pamela Jean DeRusha, U S Attorney's Office - SPO, Spokane, WA.

Page 1227

DECISION AND ORDER

VICTOR E. BIANCHINI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

In January of 2005, Plaintiff Raymond E. Morrison applied for Supplemental Security Income (" SSI" ) benefits and Disability Insurance Benefits (" DIB" ) under the Social Security Act. The Commissioner of Social Security denied the applications.

Plaintiff, represented by the Dana Madsen Law Office, Maureen J. Rosette, Esq., of counsel, commenced this action seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's denial of benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § § 405 (g) and 1383 (c)(3). The parties consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge. (Docket No. 7).

On January 3, 2014, the Honorable Rosanna Malouf Peterson, Chief United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B). (Docket No. 21).

II. BACKGROUND

The procedural history may be summarized as follows:

Plaintiff applied for SSI benefits and DIB on January 21, 2005. (T at 330-34, 496-501).[1] Plaintiff alleged disability beginning July 17, 2001, but the relevant alleged onset date has been determined to be September 12, 2003.[2] The applications were denied initially and Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ" ). On May 16, 2007, a hearing was held before ALJ Richard A. Say. (T at 555). Plaintiff appeared with his attorney and testified. (T at 566-76). The ALJ also received testimony from Deborah Lapoint, a vocational expert (T at 576-83), and Dr. Ronald M. Klein, a medical expert. (T at 558-66).

On August 13, 2007, ALJ Say issued a written decision denying the applications and finding that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (T at 18-37). The Social Security Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on January 17, 2008. (T at 10-12). Plaintiff timely filed an action seeking judicial review in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. On October 14, 2008, the Honorable James P. Hutton, United States Magistrate Judge, remanded the case for further administrative proceedings. (T at 666-78).

On remand, a second administrative hearing was held on May 27, 2009, before ALJ Robert S. Chester. (T at 851). Plaintiff again appeared with his attorney and testified. (T at 866-77). ALJ Chester also received testimony from Dr. R. Thomas McKnight, a medical expert (T at 858-66), and Thomas Moreland, a vocational expert. (T at 877-82). ALJ Chester issued a decision denying the applications on June 29, 2009. (T at 643-64). On February 20, 2010, the Appeals Council

Page 1228

granted Plaintiff's request for review and remanded the matter for further proceedings. (T at 741-44).

A third administrative hearing was held on June 17, 2010, before ALJ James W. Sherry. (T at 844-919). Plaintiff again appeared with an attorney and testified. (T at 901-907). ALJ Sherry received testimony from K. Diane Kramer, a vocational expert (T at 907-18), and Dr. Jay Toews, a medical expert. (T at 891-901). On July 8, 2010, ALJ Sherry issued a decision denying the applications. (T at 606-29). ALJ Sherry's decision became the Commissioner's final decision on August 24, 2012, when the Appeals Council denied review. (T at 584-87).

On October 23, 2012, Plaintiff, acting by and through his counsel, timely commenced this action by filing a Complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. (Docket No. 5). The Commissioner interposed an Answer on January 7, 2013. (Docket No. 10).

Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on May 6, 2013. (Docket No. 17). The Commissioner moved for summary judgment on June 17, 2013. (Docket No. 19). Plaintiff filed a reply memorandum of law on June 17, 2013. (Docket No. 20). As noted above, the parties consented to the jurisdiction of a Magistrate Judge. (Docket No. 7).

For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's motion is denied, Plaintiff's motion is granted, and this case is ...


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