United States District Court, W.D. Washington
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT
Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge.
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. 3; Consent to Proceed
Before a United States Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 4). This matter
has been fully briefed. See Dkt. 9, 10, 11.
considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes
that the ALJ erred at the final step of the sequential
disability determination when she found that plaintiff could
perform other work existing in the national economy. When
making this finding, the ALJ relied on a finding from a
vocational expert (“VE”) that plaintiff's
past relevant work (“PRW”) as a laboratory
technician required the skills of “analyzing
statistical data to prepare reports” when substantial
evidence fails to support such a finding. AR. 679.
Plaintiff's testimony reveals that her PRW involved only
gathering data, not analyzing data.
this matter should be reversed and remanded pursuant to
sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to the Acting
Commissioner for further consideration consistent with this
NICOLE NELSON, was born in 1953 and was 55 years old on the
amended alleged date of disability onset of July 17, 2008.
See AR. 309-11, 692. Plaintiff completed college
with a degree in biology. AR. 697. Plaintiff has work history
as a research technician in molecular biology. AR. 131.
to the ALJ, through the date last insured, plaintiff had at
least the severe impairments of “fibromyalgia, carpal
tunnel syndrome (CTS), and asthma (20 CFR
404.1520(c)).” AR. 672.
application for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (Title
II) of the Social Security Act was denied initially and
following reconsideration. See AR. 169, 170. Over
the past nine years plaintiff has had three hearings and
three unfavorable decisions (see AR. 8-27, 28-124,
125-68, 172-92, 666-88, 689-733). Plaintiff's most recent
hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Kimberly
Boyce (“the ALJ”) on December 6, 2016.
See AR. 689-733. On March 22, 2017, the ALJ issued a
written decision in which the ALJ concluded that plaintiff
was not disabled pursuant to the Social Security Act.
See AR. 666-88.
plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following
issues: (1) Whether the ALJ met her burden of showing that
there were other jobs in the national economy that plaintiff
could perform by relying on vocational expert (VE) testimony
regarding transferable skills that conflicted with
plaintiff's pre and post hearing testimony; and (2)
Whether this case should be remanded for a finding of
disability and award of benefits. See Dkt. 9, pp.
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
Did the ALJ meet her burden at step five of showing
that there were other jobs in the national economy that
plaintiff could perform by relying on vocational expert (VE)
testimony regarding transferable skills ...