United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
LEAH F. CHAPPELL, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Defendant.
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING FOR AN IMMEDIATE AWARD
L. ROBART UNITED STAKES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Leah F. Chappell seeks review of the denial of her
application for disability insurance and supplemental
security income ("SSI") benefits. Ms. Chappell
contends that the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ")
erred in evaluating the medical evidence in the record,
evaluating Ms. Chappell's testimony, and evaluating the
side effects of Ms. Chappell's medications. (Op. Br.
(Dkt. # 10) at 1.) Defendant Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill
("the Commissioner") concedes that the ALJ's
decision was not free of legal error and supported by
substantial evidence, arguing that the case should be
remanded for further administrative proceedings. (Resp. Br,
(Dkt. # 17) at 1-2.) Ms. Chappell contends that the case
should be remanded for an immediate award of benefits. (Reply
Br. (Dkt. # 18) at 1.) Having considered the submissions of
the parties, the relevant portions of the record, and the
applicable law, the court REVERSES the Commissioner's
final decision and REMANDS this matter for an immediate award
29, 2009, Ms. Chappell protectively filed applications for
disability insurance and SSI benefits. (Administrative Record
("AR") (Dkt. # 8) at 418.) Ms. Chappell's
applications were denied initially and on reconsideration.
(Id.) After a hearing and an unfavorable decision,
Ms. Chappell appealed to this court. (Id.) This
court reversed and remanded the matter on January 13, 2014,
for further administrative proceedings. (Id.) After
the ALJ conducted another hearing on September 18, 2014, the
ALJ issued a decision finding Ms. Chappell not disabled.
(Id. at 418-48.)
decision, the ALJ utilized the five-step disability
evaluation process,  and the court summarizes the ALJ's
findings as follows:
Step one: Ms. Chappell has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since September 1, 2008, the
alleged onset date.
Step two: Ms. Chappell has the following
severe impairments: obsessive compulsive disorder, eating
disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder
("PTSD")/panic disorder with agoraphobia/social
anxiety/anxiety, borderline personality disorder, depression,
obesity, varicose veins, and sprained ankle.
Step three: Ms. Chappell does not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or equals
the requirements of a listed impairment.
RFC: Ms. Chappell has the RFC to perform
medium work as defined in 20 CF.R. §§ 404.1567(c)
and 416.967(c), meaning she can lift 50 pounds occasionally
and 25 pounds frequently. She can stand or walk for six hours
in an eight-hour workday and sit for six hours in an
eight-hour workday. She cannot be exposed to unprotected
heights secondary to panic and prescribed medications. She
can perform simple routine tasks as defined by the content
and scope of reasoning level two. She can have no interaction
with the public; however, incidental interaction is
acceptable. She can have no greater than occasional
interaction with coworkers and cannot perform tandem tasks.
Step four: Ms. Chappell is unable to perform
any past relevant work.
Step five: Because jobs exist in significant
numbers in the national economy that Ms. Chappell can
perform, she is not disabled.
(See Id. at 418-48.) The Appeals Council denied Ms.
Chappell's request for review, making the ALJ's
decision the Commissioner's final decision. (See Id.