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Omar v. Berryhill

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

October 25, 2017

HARETHO OMAR, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1]Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING CASE FOR FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR United States District Judge.

         Haretho Omar seeks review of the denial of her application for Supplemental Security Income. Ms. Omar contends the ALJ erred in: (1) evaluating the treating opinions of Anya Zimberoff, Psy.D. and Brianne Taylor, M.D.; and, (2) evaluating her own symptom testimony. Dkt. 10 at 1. As relief, Ms. Omar requests that this matter be reversed and remanded for an award of benefits. Id. at 17-18. As discussed below, the Court REVERSES the Commissioner's final decision and REMANDS the matter for further administrative proceedings under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         BACKGROUND

         On December 14, 2010, Ms. Omar filed an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, alleging disability as of January 1, 2002. Tr. 21. Ms. Omar's application was denied initially and on reconsideration and by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Verrell Dethloff in a hearing level decision dated June 18, 2012. Tr. 21, 158-74. The Appeals Council remanded the matter to the ALJ to with instructions to review new evidence, reevaluate the opinion evidence and obtain additional evidence related to Ms. Omar's mental impairments. Tr. 21, 180-81. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on November 18, 2014, and a supplemental hearing on February 19, 2015, he issued a decision finding Ms. Omar not disabled. Tr. 21-31.

         THE ALJ'S DECISION

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

Step one: Ms. Omar has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 14, 2010, the application date.
Step two: Ms. Omar has the following severe impairments: gastritis, headaches, depression, anxiety disorders variously diagnosed as anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and dependent personality disorder.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[3]
Residual Functional Capacity: Ms. Omar can perform light work except that she can stand and walk with normal breaks for a total of about four hours in an eight-hour workday. She can sit for a total of about six hours with normal breaks in an eight-hour workday. She can lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. She can frequently balance and climb ramps and stairs. She can occasionally climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She must avoid concentrated exposure to hazards such as dangerous machinery and unprotected heights. She can perform unskilled work tasks with customary breaks and lunch. The work tasks must be simple and routine. She can have occasional contact with the public for work tasks. She can have occasional contact with coworkers for work tasks. There should be an emphasis on occupations and duties dealing with things and objects rather than people. There should be no fast-paced work, defined as constant activity performed sequentially and in rapid succession. She is limited to low stress work, defined as involving only occasional decision making.
Step four: Ms. Omar cannot perform past relevant work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Ms. Omar can perform, she is not disabled.

Tr. 21-31. The Appeals Council denied Ms. Omar's request for review making the ALJ's decision the ...


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