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Holler v. Berryhill

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

October 12, 2017

ANDREA LYNN HOLLER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1]Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING CASE FOR AN AWARD OF BENEFITS

          Hon. Richard A. Jones, United States District Judge

         Andrea Lynn Holler seeks review of the denial of her application for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. Ms. Holler contends the ALJ erred by: (1) finding she did not meet Listing 12.05C; (2) improperly evaluating the medical and opinion evidence related to the severity of her mental impairments; (3) failing to properly consider her pelvic/abdominal impairment severe at step two, and failing to properly consider her pain testimony with respect thereto. Dkt. 11 at 1. As relief, Ms. Holler requests that this matter be reversed and remanded for payment of benefits or, alternatively, for further administrative proceedings. As discussed below, the Court REVERSES the Commissioner's final decision and REMANDS the matter for an award of benefits under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         BACKGROUND

         In January 2013, Ms. Holler applied for benefits, alleging disability as of March 2010. Tr. 20. She subsequently amended her alleged onset date to January 1, 2005. Id. Ms. Holler's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. Id. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on October 9, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding Ms. Holler not disabled. Tr. 20-35.

         THE ALJ'S DECISION

         Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [2] the ALJ found:

Step one: Ms. Holler has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the amended alleged onset date of January 1, 2005.
Step two: Ms. Holler has the following severe impairments: lumbar/thoracic spine strain; bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome; obesity; cognitive disorders (variously diagnosed as amnestic disorder, cognitive disorder, rule out attention deficit disorder (ADD) and intellectual disability); affective disorders (variously diagnosed as mood disorder, dysthymic disorder, postpartum depression, depression, and bipolar disorder); and anxiety disorders (variously diagnosed as anxiety and social phobia with associated panic attacks and at times agoraphobia).
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[3]
Residual Functional Capacity: Ms. Holler can perform light work with additional limitations. She can lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 20 pounds frequently. She can sit for about six hours and stand/walk for about six hours in an eight-hour workday with regular breaks. She has unlimited ability to push/pull without those exertional limits. She can frequently climb ramps and stairs, balance, kneel, crouch, and crawl. She can occasionally stoop and climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. She can frequently finger. She should avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold, vibration, and hazards. She can understand, remember, and carry out simple, routine, and repetitive tasks consistent with jobs with an SVP of 1-2. She can work in small groups of coworkers. She can have incidental brief contact with the general public. She can have occasional contact with supervisors. Job requirements and expectations should be clear and involve a routine o[r] predictable work environment and tasks with few changes in the routine.
Step four: Ms. Holler cannot perform past relevant work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Ms. Holler can perform, she is not disabled.

Tr. 20-35. The Appeals Council denied Ms. Holler's request for review making the ALJ's decision the ...


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