Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Lucius v. Berryhill

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

February 27, 2018

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.



         Brandon Lucius appeals the decision of the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) finding him not disabled. He contends the ALJ erroneously rejected his testimony, and the opinions of Dr. Wingate, Dr. Bowes, and Mr. Childs. He argues, based on these errors, that the ALJ's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) determination and hypothetical questions to the vocational expert (“VE”) fail to account for all of his limitations. Mr. Lucius also contends the ALJ erred at step four by ignoring the reasoning level required to perform the job of a Cashier. Dkt. # 9 at 1. For the reasons below, the Commissioner's final decision is REVERSED and REMANDED for further administrative proceedings under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).


         In November 2013, Mr. Lucius applied for Social Security Disability, and Supplemental Security Income benefits under Titles II and XVI alleging disability as of October 1, 2012. Administrative Record (“AR”) 220-26; 227-35. He later abandoned his Title II claim when he amended his onset date. AR 54-55. After conducting a hearing on May 21, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding Mr. Lucius not disabled. AR 3-49. The Appeals Council denied review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. AR 6.


         Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [1] the ALJ found:

Step one: Mr. Lucius has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 5, 2013.
Step two: Mr. Lucius has the following severe impairments: major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, right shoulder tendinopathy status post acromioplasty, status post right hand tendon repair, and obesity.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity: Mr. Lucius can perform light work except he can occasionally push and pull and frequently reach overhead, handle and finger with the right upper extremity; occasionally climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; frequently crawl; and tolerate concentrated exposure to excessive vibration and hazards like unprotected heights and moving machinery. Mentally he can understand and remember simple job instructions; perform simple, routine, and repetitive tasks; make simple decisions; tolerate simple changes in work settings; maintain attention and concentration for two hour intervals to complete such tasks without more than normally expected brief interruptions. Socially he can tolerate superficial interaction with coworkers, supervisors and the public.
Step four: Mr. Lucius can perform past relevant work as a cashier.
Step five: Alternatively, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Mr. Lucius can perform.

AR 35-44.


         The Court will reverse the ALJ's decision only if it is not supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole or if the ALJ applied the wrong legal standard. Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir. 2012). The ALJ's decision may not be reversed on account of an error that is harmless. Id. at 1111. Where the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the Court must uphold the Commissioner's interpretation. Tommasetti v. Astrue, 533 F.3d 1035, 1038 (9th Cir.2008).

         A. Evaluation of the Medical Evidence and Other Source Evidence

         Mr. Lucius argues the ALJ erroneously rejected the opinions of Terilee Wingate, Ph.D., Tasmyn Bowes, Ph.D., and Cephus Child, MHP. Dkt. # 9 at 4-13.

         The ALJ determines credibility and resolves ambiguities and conflicts in the medical evidence. See Reddick v. Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 722 (9th Cir. 1998). Where the medical evidence in the record is inconclusive, “questions of credibility and resolution of conflicts” are solely the functions of the ALJ. Sample v. Schweiker, 694 F.2d 639, 642 (9th Cir. 1982). In such cases, “the ALJ's conclusion must be upheld.” Morgan v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., 169 F.3d 595, 601 (9th Cir. 1999). Determining whether inconsistencies in the medical evidence “are material (or are in fact ...

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.