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. 5; Consent to Proceed
Before a United States Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 7). This matter
has been fully briefed. See Dkt. 11, 12, 13.
was sexual assaulted between the ages of two and five, and at
age fourteen. AR. 475. An examining doctor, Dr. Quisenberry,
Ph.D., indicated that “a diagnosis of PTSD is
appropriate and warranted but the claimant was unable to
provide enough data to support that diagnosis at this time,
” perhaps due to the PTSD itself. Id. Dr.
Quisenberry opined that plaintiff's “social anxiety
appears to play a significant factor in her ability to relate
and interact with others, which would make seeking and
retaining a job difficult.” AR. 475. He also opined
that “it is clear that [plaintiff] is significantly
impaired at this moment in time . . . .” AR. 476.
Similarly, plaintiff's treating psychiatrist opined that
plaintiff “will not be able to be gainfully employed in
any conceivable setting in any conceivable time in the near
or distant future.” AR. 509.
considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes
that the ALJ erred when failing to credit fully the medical
opinion from the treating psychiatrist. Although the ALJ
found that the medical opinion was contradicted by the
treatment record demonstrating that plaintiff's condition
was stable and that she had experienced improvement, the ALJ
failed to discuss significant probative evidence in the
letter from the treating psychiatrist directly contradicting
this finding by the ALJ.
this error is not harmless, this matter is reversed and
remanded pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
to the Acting Commissioner for further proceedings consistent
with this Order.
ADRIANNE LINDGRIN, was born in 1986 and was 27 years old on
the amended alleged date of disability onset of October 16,
2013. See AR. 72, 268-76. Plaintiff has received her
GED. AR. 63. Plaintiff has very little work history that
includes filing papers and planting trees. AR. 64-70.
to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of
“major depressive disorder; anxiety; post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD); obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD);
psychosis, not otherwise specified; bipolar disorder I;
social phobia; and social anxiety (20 CFR 416.920(c)).”
time of the hearing, plaintiff was living with her boyfriend
and his cousin. AR. 89.
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.
100-110, 112-22. Plaintiff's requested hearing was held
before Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Watson (“the
ALJ”) on January 19, 2016. See AR. 55-99. On
February 8, 2016, the ALJ issued a written decision in which
the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to
the Social Security Act. See AR. 11-29.
plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following
issues: (1) Whether the ALJ erred by rejecting the opinion of
plaintiff's treating psychiatrist without providing
specific and legitimate reasons; and (2) Whether the ALJ met
her burden at step five of the sequential evaluation process.
See Dkt. 11, 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 ...