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Hewitt v. Berryhill

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

June 12, 2017

SCOTT HEWITT, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING DEFENDANT'S DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS

          JAMES L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Scott Hewitt seeks review of the denial of his application for disability insurance benefits. Mr. Hewitt contends that the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") erred in evaluating Mr. Hewitt's testimony and the medical evidence in the record. (Op. Br. (Dkt. # 14) 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 July 22, 2013, Mr. Hewitt protectively filed an application for disability insurance benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") (Dkt. # 9) at 19.) Mr. Hewitt's application was denied initially and on reconsideration. (Id.) After the ALJ conducted hearings on November 14, 2014, and March 17, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding Mr. Hewitt not disabled. (Id. at 19-37.)

         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: Mr. Hewitt did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from his alleged onset date of June 15, 2004, through his date last insured of March31, 2009.
Step two: Through the date last insured, Mr. Hewitt had the following severe impairments: right shoulder strain; right rotator cuff tear and syndrome, status post-surgical repair; right carpal tunnel syndrome, status post-release; cervical abnormality; regional complex pain syndrome; chronic pain disorder; and major depressive disorder with secondary anxiety.
Step three: Through the date last insured, Mr. Hewitt did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or equaled the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
RFC: Through the date last insured, Mr. Hewitt had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b) that did not require lifting or carrying more than 10 pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds frequently with the right dominant upper extremity, with no limitation with the left; that did not require more than occasional right-side overhead reaching; that did not require more than frequent reaching in other directions; that did not require more than frequent pushing, pulling, handling, fingering, or feeling with the right upper extremity, with no limits on the left upper extremity; that did not require climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; that did not require exposure to hazards such as open machinery or unprotected heights; that did not require exposure to heavy vibration; that did not require concentrated exposure to extreme cold; that did not require more than frequent balancing, stooping, crouching, kneeling, or climbing of ramps or stairs; that did not require crawling; that consisted of simple tasks; that consisted of routine tasks; and that did not require more than superficial interaction with others.
Step four: Through the date last insured, Mr. Hewitt was unable to perform any past relevant work.
Step five: Because jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy that Mr. Hewitt could have performed through the date last insured, he was not disabled during the relevant period.

(See Id. at 21-37.) The Appeals Council denied Mr. Hewitt's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision.[3] (See Id. at 1-7.)

         III. ...


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