United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING DEFENDANT'S
DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS
J. BRYAN United States District Judge
Faith Coates seeks review of the denial of her applications
for disability insurance and supplemental security income
(“SSI”) benefits. Plaintiff contends that the
administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred by failing
to develop the record, in evaluating the medical evidence,
and in assessing her residual functional capacity
(“RFC”). Dkt. 9 at 1. As discussed below, the
Court REVERSES Defendant Commissioner Nancy A.
Berryhill's (“the Commissioner”) final
decision and REMANDS the case for further administrative
October 4, 2012, plaintiff protectively filed applications
for disability insurance and SSI benefits, alleging
disability as of December 31, 2008. Dkt. 7, Administrative
Record (“AR”) 18. Plaintiff's applications
were denied initially and on reconsideration. Id.
After the ALJ conducted a hearing on July 31, 2014, the ALJ
issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled. AR 18-28.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since December 31, 2008, the alleged onset date.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments:
obesity, degenerative disc disease, affective disorder, and
borderline intellectual functioning.
Step three: Plaintiff's impairments do not meet or equal
the requirements of a listed impairment.
RFC: Plaintiff has the ability to perform sedentary work
except she can climb ramps and stairs occasionally, but never
scaffolding, ropes, or ladders. She can occasionally stoop
and never kneel, crouch, or crawl. She is able to perform
unskilled, simple, routine work tasks with customary breaks
and lunch. She can have frequent contact with coworkers, but
primary work tasks should require no more than occasional
collaborative work tasks. She cannot perform production-rate
work. She needs one additional break of customary duration.
Step four: Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant
numbers in the national economy that plaintiff can perform,
plaintiff has not disabled from December 31, 2008, through
the date of the decision.
See AR 18-28. The Appeals Council denied
plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's
decision the Commissioner's final ...