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Ball v. Berryhill

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

February 21, 2017

ROBERTA JANE BALL, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1] Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING FOR FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

          JAMES L. ROBART, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Roberta Jane Ball seeks review of the denial of her application for disability insurance benefits. Ms. Ball contends that the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") erred in evaluating Ms. Ball's testimony, assessing her residual functional capacity ("RFC"), and finding her capable of performing work available in the national economy. (Op. Br. (Dkt. # 7) at 1.) Having considered the submissions of the parties, the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law, the court REVERSES Defendant Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill's ("the Commissioner") final decision and II REMANDS the matter for further administrative proceedings under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. BACKGROUND

         On August 15, 2013, Ms. Ball protectively filed an application for disability insurance benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") (Dkt. # 5) at 11.) Ms. Ball's application was denied initially and on reconsideration. (Id.) After the ALJ conducted a hearing on January 8, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding Ms. Ball not disabled. (AR at 11-23.)

         The ALJ utilized the five-step disability evaluation process in his decision, [2] and the court summarizes the ALJ's findings as follows:

Step one: Ms. Ball has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 26, 2011, the alleged onset date.
Step two: Ms. Ball has the severe impairments of bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder.
Step three: Ms. Ball does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or equals the requirements of a listed impairment.[3]
RFC: Ms. Ball has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but subject to following nonexertional limitations. Ms. Ball is able to perform work that is limited to unskilled, repetitive, and routine work. She is able to perform work with no public contact and only occasional contact with supervisors and coworkers. She is able to perform work that allows her to work at her own pace while still meeting minimum production requirements of the job. She is able to perform work that allows her to be off task up to 10 percent of the time while still meeting minimum production requirements of the job.
Step four: Ms. Ball is unable to perform any past relevant work.
Step five: Because jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Ms. Ball can perform, she is not disabled.

(See AR at 13-23.) The Appeals Council denied Ms. Ball's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final ...


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