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Williams v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

May 18, 2017

MELISSA WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING DEFENDANT'S DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS

          JAMES L. ROBART United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Melissa Williams seeks review of the denial of her applications for disability insurance and supplemental security income ("SSI") benefits. Ms. Williams contends that the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") erred in evaluating Ms. Williams's testimony and the medical evidence in the record. (Op. Br. (Dkt. # 11) at 1.) Having considered the submissions of the parties, the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law, the court AFFIRMS Defendant Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill's ("the Commissioner") final decision and DISMISSES the case with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On January 25, 2013, Ms. Williams filed applications for disability insurance and SSI benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") (Dkt. # 7) at 10.) Ms. Williams's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. (Id.) After the ALJ conducted a hearing on April 22, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding Ms. Williams not disabled. (Mat 10-24.)

         In his decision, the ALJ utilized the five-step disability evaluation process, [1] and the court summarizes the ALJ's findings as follows:

Step one: Ms. Williams has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 27, 2012, the alleged onset date.
Step two: Ms. Williams has the following severe impairments: obesity, osteoarthritis and allied disorders, and affective disorders.
Step three: Ms. Williams does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or equals the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
RFC: Ms. Williams has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except that she can lift and/or carry 10 pounds occasionally and frequently; stand and/or walk with normal breaks for a total of about two hours in an eight-hour workday; sit with normal breaks for a total of about six hours in an eight-hour workday; occasionally push or pull with the left lower and upper extremities; frequently balance, crouch, and crawl; occasionally stoop; occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but never ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; frequently reach with the left upper extremity; avoid concentrated exposure to hazards such as dangerous machinery and protected heights, as well as fumes, odors, dusts, gases, poor ventilation. She is capable of unskilled work tasks consisting of simple, routine tasks with customary breaks and lunch. She should have no contact with the public but can have occasional contact with coworkers. She should have no more than occasional changes in the work environment and no strict production quotas.
Step four: Ms. Williams is unable to perform any past relevant work.
Step five: Because jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Ms. Williams can perform, she is not disabled.

(See Id. at 10-24.) The Appeals Council denied Ms. Williams's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final ...


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