Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Zink v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

August 9, 2017

MARK C. ZINK, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

          J. Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge

         This 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. 14, 15, 16.

         After considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes the case should be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. Examining psychologist, Dr. David Widlan, PhD, opined that plaintiff's mental impairments would persist following 60 days of sobriety, and were not primarily the result of alcohol or drug use. AR. 461. Despite this, the ALJ found plaintiff not disabled because, according to the ALJ, plaintiff would not have been disabled if he had not continued to abuse alcohol and/or drugs. The ALJ committed legal error by failing to address, in substantial part, the opinion of examining psychologist Dr.Widlan. Because this is not harmless error, this matter must be remanded for further proceedings consistent with this order.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, MARK C. ZINK, was born in 1968 and was 44 years old on the alleged date of disability onset of August 1, 2012. See AR. 260-66, 267-84. Plaintiff has a high school diploma and has taken some college courses. AR. 56. Plaintiff has work history as a laborer in the construction field. AR. 313-19. He last worked doing temporary labor jobs. AR. 63-67.

         According to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of “Chronic foot dysfunction due to frostbite damage; tremor; lumbar degenerative disc disease; depressive disorder; substance abuse (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).” AR. 31.

         At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was living with his parents. AR. 55

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff's 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. 95-109, 110-24, 127-42, 143-59. Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Mary Gallagher Dilley (“the ALJ”) on November 20, 2014. See AR. 50-92. On January 29, 2015, the ALJ issued a written decision in which the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to the Social Security Act. See AR. 25-49.

         In plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) Whether or not the ALJ properly evaluated the opinions of David Widlan, PhD; and (2) Whether or not the ALJ properly evaluated the opinions of Scott Schroeder, DPM. See Dkt. 14, p. 1.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant 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 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing Tidwell v. Apfel, 161 F.3d 599, 601 (9th Cir. 1999)).

         DISCUSSION

         (1) Whether or not the ALJ properly evaluated the opinions ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.