United States District Court, W.D. Washington
REBECCA I. MORGAN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
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. 4; Consent to Proceed
Before a United States Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 5). This matter
has been fully briefed (see Dkt. 19, 26, 27).
considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes
that the ALJ erred in failing to acknowledge that plaintiff
was performing a composite job, rather than two separate DOT
occupations of Data Entry Clerk and Mailroom Clerk.
Therefore, despite the repeated remands of this claim on
other grounds, because of unresolved issues, this matter must
be remanded again for further consideration.
REBECCA I. MORGAN, was born in 1962 and was 38 years old on
the alleged date of disability onset of April 1, 2001.
See AR. 146. Plaintiff graduated from high school.
AR. 543. Plaintiff has work experience as a cashier, a
“parts racker, ” a manager, and performing a
myriad of tasks in a temporary position at the Department of
Social and Human Services (DSHS). AR. 182
to the ALJ, through the date last insured, the claimant had
the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease
of the lumbar spine, compression fracture of T12,
degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, right
shoulder tendinitis, fibromyalgia, depressive disorder, and
anxiety disorder. AR. 1572; 20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
time of the hearing, plaintiff was living with her husband
and adult daughter. AR. 545, 555.
2005, plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance
benefits (“DIB”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423
(Title II) of the Social Security Act, alleging disability as
of April 1, 2001. AR. 146. Plaintiff's application was
denied upon initial administrative review and on
reconsideration. See AR. 125, 128. Plaintiff had her
first hearing before an ALJ on November 15, 2007, at which
plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and testified.
See AR. 538.
February 20, 2008, the ALJ found plaintiff was not disabled
within the meaning of Sections 216(i), 223, and 1614(a)(3)(A)
of the Social Security Act. AR. 80-81. Over the next six
years, plaintiff's case has since been reversed and
remanded by the Appeals Council and by this Court three times
and by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals once. See
AR. 84-87, 111-14; Doc. 24; Morgan v. Colvin, 531
F.App'x 793, 794 (9th Cir. 2013). Plaintiff has testified
at four ALJ hearings, and three ALJs have rendered a total of
four decisions. As of the date of this Order, plaintiff's
claims have been pending just shy of twelve years from the
date plaintiff filed her first application for DIB.
plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following
issues: (1) Whether or not the ALJ erred by basing her step
four finding on an erroneous determination of plaintiff's
past relevant work; (2) Whether or not the ALJ erred in her
evaluation of the medical opinion evidence; and (3) Whether
or not the proper remedy for the errors in the ALJ's
decision is remand for benefits. See Dkt. 19, p. 1.
Because the Court concludes that issue number one is
dispositive, the remainder of the issues raised will be
discussed only briefly in order to provide more direction for
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 ...