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McGuire v. Colvin

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

August 20, 2014

ASHLEY N. McGUIRE, 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. 16, 23).

After considering and reviewing the record, the Court finds the ALJ failed to provide legally sufficient reasons to discount the opinion of examining psychologist, Richard Coder, Ph.D.. Because this error was not harmless, this matter should be remanded pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to the Acting Commissioner for further consideration.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, ASHLEY N. McGUIRE, was born in 1986 and was 22 years old on the alleged date of disability onset of November 28, 2008 ( see Tr. 209-214, 215-220). Plaintiff took special education classes, graduated from high school, and took a certified nursing assistance course (Tr. 51). Plaintiff has work experience in food service, housekeeping, laminating boats, and child care (Tr. 181, 234).

According to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of "adjustment disorder with anxious mood (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c))" (Tr. 18).

At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was pregnant and living in a house with her husband and five year old daughter (Tr. 53).

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff's 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 were denied initially and following reconsideration ( see Tr. 102-104, 105-108, 111-118, 119-127, ). Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Scott R. Morris ("the ALJ") on February 13, 2012 ( see Tr. 32-80). On April 19, 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.13-31).

In plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following issue: (1) Whether or not the ALJ erred in weighing the medical opinion evidence ( see ECF No. 16, p. 1).

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)).

DISCUSSION

(1) Whether or not the ALJ erred in weighing the medical ...


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