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. 5; Consent to Proceed
Before a United States Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 7). This matter
has been fully briefed. See Dkt. 13, 20, 21.
summarized by the ALJ, plaintiff “has had a difficult
past, with a chaotic and abusive childhood, and drug and
alcohol abuse. However . . . . [she] ‘has totally
changed her life' to one of being clean and sober, with a
clean and sober partner, and a focus on successful parenting
and housing.” AR. 17 (citation omitted). Although Dr.
Kathleen Anderson M.D., examined plaintiff and concluded that
“the prognosis for her being able to sustain
competitive employment is poor, ” the ALJ failed to
credit this opinion. AR. 18-19, 230.
considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes
that the ALJ erred when failing to credit fully the medical
evidence offered by Dr. Andersen. Although the ALJ relied on
a finding that Dr. Andersen relied heavily on plaintiff's
subjective statements, the ALJ cited no evidence from the
record in support of this finding.
the ALJ's finding that Dr. Andersen relied heavily on
plaintiff's subjective allegations is not based on
substantial evidence in the record as a whole, and for other
reasons discussed herein, this matter is reversed and
remanded to the Administration for further proceedings
consistent with this Order.
GABRIELLE SALUSKIN, was born in 1983 and was 20 years old on
the alleged date of disability onset of September 1, 2004.
See AR. 154-63. Plaintiff believes that she finished
the eighth grade and has not obtained a GED. AR. 38-39. She
has no work experience other than in the sex industry. AR.
to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of
“anxiety disorder, personality disorder, and morbid
obesity (20 CFR 416.920(c)).” AR. 12.
time of the hearing, plaintiff was living with her 3-year-old
daughter and the child's father in an apartment. AR.
application for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1382(a) (Title XVI) of the Social Security Act was denied
initially and following reconsideration. See AR. 69,
97. Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge Cheri L. Filion (“the
ALJ”) on May 11, 2015. See AR. 28-68. On
October 6, 2015, the ALJ issued a written decision in which
the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to
the Social Security Act. See AR. 7-24.
plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following
issue: (1) Did the ALJ properly weigh the medical opinions
when assessing plaintiff's mental limitations in order to
formulate a thorough residual functional capacity (RFC).
See Dkt. 13, p. 1.
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 ...