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Thomas v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

August 9, 2017

TYLER N. THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS

          Theresa L. Fricke United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, has brought this matter for judicial review of the Commissioner's denial of his applications for disability insurance and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. The parties have consented to have this matter heard by the undersigned Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73; Local Rule MJR 13. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits should be affirmed.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On May 8, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits and another one for SSI benefits, alleging in both applications that he became disabled beginning January 1, 2010. Dkt. 12, Administrative Record (AR) 8. Both applications were denied on initial administrative review and on reconsideration. Id. A hearing was held before an administrative law judge (ALJ), at which Plaintiff, unrepresented by counsel, appeared and testified as did a vocational expert. AR 25-50.

         In a decision dated February 19, 2015, the ALJ found that Plaintiff could perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy and therefore that he was not disabled. AR 8-20. Plaintiff's request for review of that decision was denied by the Appeals Council on July 8, 2016, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner, which Plaintiff then appealed in a complaint filed with this Court on September 14, 2016. AR 1; Dkt. 3; 20 C.F.R. § 404.981, § 416.1481.

         Plaintiff seeks reversal of the ALJ's decision and remand for an award of benefits on the basis that there is substantial evidence to support a determination of disability. More specifically, Plaintiff argues the ALJ erred:

(1) in evaluating the medical and other evidence in the record;
(2) in failing to consider the combination of Plaintiff's impairments;
(3) in failing to properly consider Plaintiff's complaints of chronic back and knee pain;
(4) in not obtaining a physical and mental evaluation from a medical expert;
(5) in discounting Plaintiff's testimony;
(6) in failing to request or accept evidence from non-medical sources;
(7) in not basing his determination of non-disability on all available evidence, and in failing to request and accept additional evidence;
(8) in assessing Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (RFC); and
(9) in finding Plaintiff could perform other jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy.

         For the reasons set forth below, however, the Court disagrees that the ALJ erred as alleged, and therefore affirms the ...


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