United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
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 the record, the Court concludes the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in his
treatment of plaintiff's testimony. For example, the ALJ
did not provide a specific, clear, and convincing reason for
rejecting a plaintiff's testimony by simply reciting the
medical evidence in support of plaintiff's residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) determination. In
addition, the ALJ failed to provide clear and convincing
reasons for rejecting plaintiff's subjective symptom
testimony regarding her left knee and lumbar spine.
ALJ properly considered this evidence, the RFC may have
included additional limitations. Therefore, the ALJ's
error is 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.
MARION REENE ROBAIR, was born in 1976 and was 33 years old on
the alleged date of disability onset of January 21, 2010.
See AR. 182-83, 193-99. Plaintiff started the
twelfth grade in school, but did not graduate. AR. 577.
Plaintiff has some work experience stocking merchandise and
cashiering. AR. 577-78.
to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of
“degenerative joint disease of the left knee, status
post total knee replacement, mild lumbar degenerative disc
disease, necrotizing fasciitis, bilateral de Quervain's
tenosynovitis, and elevated body mass index (BMI) (20 CFR
404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).” AR. 554.
time of the first hearing, plaintiff was living with her
husband. AR 43.
applications for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (Title
II) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”)
benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1382(a) (Title XVI) of
the Social Security Act were denied initially and following
reconsideration. See AR. 77-85, 87-95.
Plaintiff's first requested hearing resulted in an
unfavorable decision. AR. 13-28. Plaintiff sought review in
this Court and the Court remanded for further administrative
proceedings. AR. 659-67.
second hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge
Michael C. Blanton (“the ALJ”) on October 5,
2016. See AR. 571-603. On March 27, 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. 552-63.
plaintiff's Opening Brief, she raises the following
issues: (1) The ALJ erred in finding that the claimant's
statements concerning the intensity, persistence and limiting
effects of her symptoms was inconsistent with the medical and
other evidence of record; and (2) The ALJ's errors were
not harmless. See Dkt. 9 at 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 ...