United States District Court, W.D. Washington
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT
Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge.
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c),
Fed.R.Civ.P. 73 and Local Magistrate Judge Rule MJR 13
(see also Notice of Initial Assignment to a U.S.
Magistrate Judge and Consent Form, Dkt. 5; Consent to Proceed
Before a United States Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 6). This matter
has been fully briefed (see Dkt. 11, 16, 17).
suffers from the single severe impairment of affective
disorder, a finding not challenged by plaintiff. An examining
doctor indicated that plaintiff's depressive symptoms
resulted from the situational stressor of being left by her
husband for another woman, an especially embarrassing
situation for cultural Koreans. Plaintiff contends that the
ALJ erred by failing to credit fully the opinions from this
doctor regarding plaintiff's limitations. However, in
order for limitations to be “disabling” as
defined by the Social Security Act, they must result from
medical impairments, not from situational stressors.
for this as well as other discussed reasons, and based on
consideration and review of the record as a whole, the Court
concludes that the ALJ did not commit any harmful legal error
when evaluating plaintiff's application for social
ALJ's decision is affirmed.
SOON AE YI, was born in 1953 and was 56 years old on the
alleged date of disability onset of May 31, 2010.
See AR. 191-92, 194-203. Plaintiff graduated from
high school in Korea. AR. 35. Plaintiff has work history in
their family businesses, including a deli store, grocery
store and restaurant. AR. 36. She was last employed as a
caretaker. AR. 36.
to the ALJ, plaintiff has the severe impairment of
“Affective disorder (20CFR 404.1520(c) and
416.920(c)).” AR. 16.
time of the hearing, plaintiff was living with her son and
daughter-in-law. AR. 45.
applications for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (Title
II) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”)
benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1382(a) (Title XVI) of
the Social Security Act were denied initially and following
reconsideration. See AR. 69, 70, 95, 96.
Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge Virginia M. Robinson (“the
ALJ”) on August 8, 2014. See AR. 29-68. On
January 27, 2015, the ALJ issued a written decision in which
she concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to the
Social Security Act. AR. 11-28.
plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following
issues: (1) Whether the ALJ erred in failing to consider
properly the opinions of the examining provider in the record
and in failing to provide adequate explanation for not
according those opinions more weight; (2) Whether the ALJ
erred in finding that the plaintiff could perform work that
allowed incidental contact with the public; (3) Whether the
ALJ erred in failing to provide legitimate reasons supported
by the record for her finding on credibility; and (4) Whether
the ALJ erred in failing to order a consultative examination
and in failing to explain why she did not order a
consultative examination. See Dkt. 11, p. 2.
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court may set aside the
Commissioner's denial of social security benefits if the
ALJ's findings are based on legal error or not supported
by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Bayliss
v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211, 1214 n.1 ...