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.

Just v. Berryhill

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

August 30, 2017

LISA JUST, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER RE: SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY APPEAL

          Mary Alice Theiler United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Lisa Just proceeds through counsel in her appeal of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (Commissioner). The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's applications for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) after a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Having considered the ALJ's decision, the administrative record (AR), and all memoranda of record, this matter is REVERSED and REMANDED for further administrative proceedings.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff was born on XXXX, 1967.[1] She has a high school diploma and additional training as a medical assistant, and previously worked as a cashier and customer service representative. (AR 231-32, 237.)

         Plaintiff protectively applied for DIB and SSI in February 2013. (AR 209-17, 227.) Those applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration, and Plaintiff timely requested a hearing. (AR 129-44, 147-58, 161-62.)

         On March 18, 2015, ALJ Vadim Mozyrsky held a hearing in Portland, Oregon, taking testimony from Plaintiff and a vocational expert. (AR 36-69.) On June 23, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. (AR 13-30.) Plaintiff timely appealed. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on January 12, 2017 (AR 1-8), making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. Plaintiff appealed this final decision of the Commissioner to this Court.

         JURISDICTION

         The Court has jurisdiction to review the ALJ's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         DISCUSSION

         The Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation process for determining whether a claimant is disabled. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920 (2000). At step one, it must be determined whether the claimant is gainfully employed. The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 1, 2008, the alleged onset date. (AR 15.) At step two, it must be determined whether a claimant suffers from a severe impairment. The ALJ found severe Plaintiff's degenerative disc disease, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder. (AR 15-17.) Step three asks whether a claimant's impairments meet or equal a listed impairment. The ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or equal the criteria of a listed impairment. (AR 17-20.)

         If a claimant's impairments do not meet or equal a listing, the Commissioner must assess residual functional capacity (RFC) and determine at step four whether the claimant has demonstrated an inability to perform past relevant work. The ALJ found Plaintiff capable of performing light work, in that she can lift/carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, and sit, stand, or walk for six hours each in an eight-hour workday. She can occasionally perform overhead reaching with both upper extremities. She can occasionally climb ramps or stairs, and crawl. She can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She can perform simple, routine, repetitive tasks. She can have no contact with the public as part of her job duties, but incidental contact is not precluded. (AR 20.) With that assessment, the ALJ found Plaintiff unable to perform her past relevant work. (AR 27-28.)

         If a claimant demonstrates an inability to perform past relevant work, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to demonstrate at step five that the claimant retains the capacity to make an adjustment to work that exists in significant levels in the national economy. The ALJ found Plaintiff capable of performing the representative occupations of hand packager/inspector, electronics worker, and office worker. (AR 28-29.)

         This Court's review of the ALJ's decision is limited to whether the decision is in accordance with the law and the findings supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. See Penny v. Sullivan, 2 F.3d 953, 956 (9th Cir. 1993). Substantial evidence means more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance; it means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Magallanes v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 747, 750 (9th Cir. 1989). If there is more than one rational interpretation, one of which supports the ALJ's decision, the Court must uphold that decision. Thomas v. Barnhart, 278 F.3d 947, 954 (9th Cir. 2002).

         Plaintiff argues the ALJ erred in assessing medical opinions and in failing to discuss a lay statement. The Commissioner argues that the ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence and that any ...


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.