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Pletsch v. Colvin

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

January 30, 2015

THEODORE B. PLETSCH, 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, Dkt. 3; Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 4). This matter has been fully briefed ( see Dkt. 12, 13, 14.).

After considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes that the ALJ failed to evaluate properly the medical evidence, as plaintiff's activities of daily living do not demonstrate that he is capable of standing or walking for more than four hours in an eight hour workday, and his MRI results of a disc bulge encroaching on multiple nerve roots provide objective medical evidence in support of the doctor's opined limitations.

As this error is not harmless, this matter is reversed and remanded pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to the Acting Commissioner for further consideration consistent with this order.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, THEODORE B. PLETSCH, was born in 1959 and was 48 years old on the amended alleged date of disability onset of January 1, 2008 ( see AR. 76, 236-37). Plaintiff has at least a high school education ( see AR. 31). Plaintiff has work experience as a carpenter, a commercial tree planter and in construction (AR. 75, 284-300).

According to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of "lumbar degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis at L4-5, emphysema, [and] loss of sensation in saddle distribution, (20 CFR 404.1520(c))" (AR. 24).

At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was living with his wife ( see AR. 301).

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff provides the following uncontested procedural history:

Plaintiff, Theodore B. Pletsch ("Pletsch") protectively filed an application for Social Security disability benefits on January 21, 2009, alleging that he has been disabled since May 31, 2007.[1] His application was denied initially and on reconsideration, and a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Steve Lynch ("the ALJ") on January 21, 2011. (Tr. 69-92).... [And, following remand from the Appeals Council, ] a new hearing was held on December 6, 2012. (Tr. 38-68). On January 10, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision in which he again found that [plaintiff] was not disabled. (Tr. 18-37). On April 14, 2014, the Appeals Council denied [plaintiff]'s request for review, leaving the decision of the ALJ as the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 3-6). A timely Complaint was filed in Federal District Court.

( See Plaintiff's Opening Brief, Dkt. 12, p. 2.)

In plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) Whether or not the ALJ properly evaluated the medical evidence; (2) Whether or not the ALJ properly evaluated plaintiff's testimony; (3) Whether or not the ALJ properly evaluated the lay evidence; (4) Whether or not the ALJ properly assessed plaintiff's residual ...


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