Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Johnson v. Berryhill

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

April 4, 2017

LAURIE M. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING DEFENDANT'S DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS

          Karen L. Strombom United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff has brought this matter for judicial review of defendant's denial of her applications for disability insurance and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. The parties have consented to have this matter heard by the undersigned Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73; Local Rule MJR 13. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that defendant's decision to deny benefits should be reversed, and that this matter should be remanded for further administrative proceedings.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On January 4, 2013, plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance and another one for SSI benefits, alleging in both applications that she became disabled beginning August 17, 2012. Dkt. 9, Administrative Record (AR) 23. Both applications were denied on initial administrative review and on reconsideration. Id. At a hearing held before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), plaintiff appeared and testified, as did a lay witness and a vocational expert. AR 40-77.

         In a written decision dated August 13, 2014, the ALJ found that plaintiff could perform other jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy, and therefore that she was not disabled. AR 23-34. On June 18, 2016, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision, making that decision the final decision of the Commissioner, which plaintiff then appealed in a complaint with this Court on September 2, 2016. AR 3; Dkt. 3; 20 C.F.R. § 404.981, § 416.1481.

         Plaintiff seeks reversal of the ALJ's decision and remand for further administrative proceedings, arguing the ALJ erred:

(1) in evaluating the opinion evidence from Shay Martinez, M.D., James Czysz, Ph.D., Anthony Bottone, M.D., Alana Honigman, MSW, MHP, and Danette Allen;
(2) in rejecting plaintiff's credibility;
(3) in assessing plaintiff's residual functional capacity (RFC); and
(4) in finding plaintiff could perform other jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court agrees the ALJ erred in evaluating the opinion evidence from Dr. Martinez and Ms. Honigman, and therefore in assessing plaintiff's RFC and in finding she could perform other jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy.

         Remand for further administrative proceedings is thus warranted.

         DISCUSSION

         The Commissioner's determination that a claimant is not disabled must be upheld if the “proper legal standards” have been applied, and the “substantial evidence in the record as a whole supports” that determination. Hoffman v. Heckler, 785 F.2d 1423, 1425 (9th Cir. 1986); see also Batson v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., 359 F.3d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004); Carr v. Sullivan, 772 F.Supp. 522, 525 (E.D. Wash. 1991). “A decision supported by substantial evidence nevertheless will be set aside if the proper legal standards were not applied in weighing the evidence and making the decision.” Carr, 772 F.Supp. at 525 (citing Brawner v. Sec'y of Health and Human Sers., 839 F.2d 432, 433 (9th Cir. 1987)). Substantial evidence is ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.