United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
MICHAEL R. NEWCOMB, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING CASE FOR FURTHER
C. COUGHENOUR United States District Judge
R. Newcomb seeks review of the denial of his application for
Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance
Benefits. Mr. Newcomb contends the ALJ erred in evaluating
the medical opinions of Thomas Clifford, Ph.D., Rita
Flanagan, Ph.D., Deven Karvelas, M.D. and Brian Iuliano, M.D.
Dkt. 7. Mr. Newcomb also argues the ALJ erred in failing to
make reviewable findings with respect to his ability to hold
the sitting and standing positions. Id. Mr. Newcomb
contends these errors resulted in a residual functional
capacity determination (RFC) that failed to account for all
of his limitations. Id. Mr. Newcomb contends this
matter should be remanded for payment of benefits or,
alternatively, for further administrative proceedings.
Id. at 2. As discussed below, the Court REVERSES the
Commissioner's final decision and REMANDS the matter for
further administrative proceedings under sentence four of 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
September 18, 2012, Mr. Newcomb filed a Title II application
for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits.
Tr. 11, 210-13. On September 12, 2012, Mr. Newcomb filed a
Title XVI application for Supplemental Security Income. Tr.
11, 214-22. Both applications allege disability commencing on
July 14, 2012. Tr. 11, 210-22. Mr. Newcomb's applications
were denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 11, 86-133,
141-63. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on May 13, 2014,
the ALJ issued a decision finding Mr. Newcomb not disabled.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found:
Step one: Mr. Newcomb has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since July 14, 2012, the alleged
Step two: Mr. Newcomb has the following
severe impairments: spinal degenerative disc disease (DDD)
status post-fusion and obesity.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or
equal the requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual Functional Capacity: Mr. Newcomb
can perform medium work, as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1567(c) and 416.967(c), that does not require lifting
more than 50 pounds occasionally or more than 20 pounds
frequently; that does not require more than frequent
balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, or climbing of
ramps or stairs; that does not require more than occasional
crawling or climbing of ladders, ropes or scaffolds; that
does not require more than occasional overhead reaching; and
that does not require exposure to hazards such as open
machinery or unprotected heights.
Step four: Mr. Newcomb can perform past
relevant work as a medical receptionist.
Step five: Alternatively, as there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that Mr. Newcomb can perform, he is not disabled.
Tr. 11-26. The Appeals Council denied Mr. Newcomb's
request for review making the ALJ's decision the