United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
CHRISTINE M. MOEN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant.
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING DEFENDANT'S
DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS
Theresa L. Fricke United States Magistrate Judge
has brought this matter for judicial review of
defendant's denial of her application for 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 that defendant's decision to deny benefits should
be reversed, and that this matter should be remanded for
further administrative proceedings.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
November 5, 2009, plaintiff filed an application for SSI
benefits, alleging she became disabled beginning February 27,
2007. Dkt. 12, Administrative Record (AR) 623. That
application was denied on initial administrative review and
on reconsideration. AR 18. A hearing was held before an
administrative law judge (ALJ), at which plaintiff appeared
and testified. AR 35-74.
decision dated February 15, 2012, the ALJ found that
plaintiff could perform other jobs existing in significant
numbers in the national economy and therefore that she was
not disabled. AR 18-29. Plaintiff's request for review
was denied by the Appeals Council, which plaintiff then
appealed to this Court. AR 1, 623. On March 26, 2014, based
on the stipulation of the parties, the Court remanded the
matter to the Commissioner for further administrative
proceedings. AR 692-94.
remand, another hearing was held before the same ALJ, at
which plaintiff appeared and testified, as did a vocational
expert. AR 649-665. In a decision dated April 29, 2015, the
ALJ again found plaintiff could perform other jobs existing
in significant numbers in the national economy, and therefore
that she was not disabled. AR 623-640. It appears the Appeals
Council did not assume jurisdiction of the matter, making the
ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision,
which plaintiff appealed in a complaint filed with this Court
on September 23, 2016. Dkt. 3; 20 C.F.R. § 416.1481.
seeks reversal of the ALJ's decision and remand for
further administrative proceedings, arguing the ALJ erred:
(1) in evaluating the medical evidence, including the
opinions of Robert E. Schneider, Ph.D., M. Kristin Price,
Ph.D., ; Daniel K. Beavers, D.O., Tobias A. Ryan, Psy.D.,
Donald D. Ramsthel, M.D., Gary Pape, M.D., Kye Park, M.D.,
Cynthia Collingwood, Ph.D., and Bruce Eather, Ph.D.
(2) in discounting plaintiff's credibility;
(3) in rejecting the lay witness evidence;
(4) in assessing plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(5) in finding plaintiff could perform other jobs existing in
significant numbers in the national economy.
reasons set forth below, the Court agrees the ALJ erred in
evaluating the opinion of Dr. Ryan, and therefore in
assessing plaintiff's RFC, in finding plaintiff to be
capable of performing other jobs, and in determining
plaintiff to be disabled. Accordingly, the Court finds that
the decision to deny benefits should be ...