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.

Hayes v. Berryhill

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

December 21, 2017

NEIL THOMAS HAYES, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING THE COMMISSIONER'S DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS

          David W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Neil Thomas Hayes Jr. filed this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), for judicial review of Defendant's denial of his applications for supplemental security income (“SSI”) and disability insurance benefits (“DIB”). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73 and Local Rule MJR 13, the parties have consented to have this matter heard by the undersigned Magistrate Judge. See Dkt. 5.

         After considering the record, the Court concludes the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred when she failed to discuss significant and probative evidence contained in Plaintiff's January 2015 treatment notes from SeaMar Burien Medical (“January 2015 treatment notes”). Had the ALJ properly considered the objective medical evidence, the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) may have included additional limitations. The ALJ's error is therefore not harmless, and this matter is reversed and remanded pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to the Acting Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) for further proceedings consistent with this Order.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 15, 2013, Plaintiff filed applications for SSI and DIB, alleging disability as of February 23, 2013. See Dkt. 10, Administrative Record (“AR”) 17. The applications were denied upon initial administrative review and on reconsideration. See Id. A hearing was held before ALJ Mary Gallagher Dilley on January 13, 2015. See AR 38-64. In a decision dated February 3, 2016, the ALJ determined Plaintiff to be not disabled. See AR 17-32. Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision was denied by the Appeals Council, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. See AR 1-4; 20 C.F.R. § 404.981, § 416.1481.

         In the Opening Brief, Plaintiff maintains the ALJ failed to: (1) properly evaluate the medical evidence and (2) properly assess Plaintiff's RFC. Dkt. 13 at 1-2. Plaintiff asks the Court to remand for award of benefits.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant 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 Cir. 1999)).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Whether the ALJ properly rejected significant probative objective medical evidence.

         Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred when she failed to address objective medical evidence found in Plaintiff's January 2015 treatment notes. Dkt. 13 at 4-5. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges these treatment notes demonstrate Plaintiff has neck impairments, resulting in limited movement of his head and neck, and also has anxiety and psychological issues. Dkt. 13 at 4-5.

         A. Neck Impairments

         Plaintiff maintains the ALJ erred when she failed to address a portion of the January 2015 treatment notes related to Plaintiff's neck impairment. Dkt. 13 at 4-5. Plaintiff asserts the ALJ failed to consider two pieces of evidence which indicate: (1) surgery left Plaintiff unable to look down or move his neck from left to right and (2) Plaintiff has five degrees of flexion and extension of the neck and is unable to turn his head from side to side. Dkt. 13 at 4 (citing AR 817, 819).

         Defendant contends the ALJ considered this evidence since the ALJ decision states the “ALJ considered all the treatment records, including the January 2015 treatment note[s.]” Dkt. 15 at 3-5 (citing AR 17). Although the ALJ did discuss a portion of these notes, the ALJ failed to discuss the entirety of these records. See AR 26. The ALJ did find Plaintiff was treated for “other impairments, ” but made no reference to the notes within the medical records indicating physical limitations arising from neck issues and concluded Plaintiff's list of medical problems and complaints did not include neck impairments or musculoskeletal issues. Id. Plaintiff correctly points out, the same treatment notes also indicate: (1) surgery ...


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.