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Worsham v. Colvin

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

May 29, 2014

JAMES C. WORSHAM, 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. 3; Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, ECF No. 4). This matter has been fully briefed ( see ECF Nos. 11, 15, 16).

After considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes that the ALJ's finding that plaintiff's impairments did not meet or medically equal a Listed impairment is not based on substantial evidence in the record as a whole because the record demonstrates the existence of specified symptoms and clinical findings.

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

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, JAMES WORSHAM, was born in 1965 and was 40 years old on the alleged date of disability onset of January 22, 2006 ( see Tr. 162). Plaintiff completed high school and some college courses (Tr. 47). He served in the Navy and was honorably discharged (Tr. 64). He has experience as a truck driver, a car salesman and managing a pawn shop (Tr. 47-54).

Plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of "lumbar degenerative disc disease with laminectomy and foraminotomy at L4-L5; thoracic degenerative disc disease; cervical degenerative disc disease; carpal tunnel syndrome; coronary artery disease; headaches; hyperlipidemia and obesity (20 CFR 404.1520(c))" (Tr. 22).

At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was living alone (Tr. 57).

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

After filing an application for disability insurance ("DIB") benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (Title II) of the Social Security Act ( see Tr. 162-65; see also Tr. 88-90, 95-99), plaintiff's requested hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Michael C. Blanton ("the ALJ") on January 31, 2012 ( see Tr. 43-85). On February 8, 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.17-42).

In plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) Did the Commissioner err in determining that plaintiff did not suffer from the severe impairment of lumbar radiculopathy; (2) Did the Commissioner err in determining that plaintiff did not meet or equal any of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1; (3) Did the Commissioner err in his evaluation of the medical evidence in discounting plaintiff's credibility; (4) Did the Commissioner err in his evaluation of the medical evidence in arriving at plaintiff's residual functional capacity assessment; and (5) Did the Commissioner err by relying on the testimony of a vocational expert which is inconsistent with the Dictionary of Occupational Titles ( see ECF No. 11, 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. ...


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