United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
MICHAEL W. BELL, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER REVERSING THE COMMISSIONER AND REMANDING FOR
S. LASNIK United States District Judge.
W. Bell appeals the decision of the administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) finding him not disabled. He contends
that the ALJ harmfully erred in rejecting the opinions of
Tasmyn Bowes, Ph.D., and his testimony, and that the Court
should reverse and remand the case for an award of benefits
or for further proceedings. Dkt. 13 at 1. For the reasons
below, the Court REVERSES the
Commissioner's final decision and
REMANDS the matter for further
administrative proceedings under sentence four of 42 U.S.C.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found:
Step one: Mr. Bell has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since January 2013.
Step two: Mr. Bell has the following severe
impairments: obesity, degenerative disc disease, right ankle
status post fusion, chronic pain syndrome, right shoulder
abnormality, major depressive disorder, posttraumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), rule out generalized anxiety disorder/panic
disorder, history of head injuries, rule out cognitive
disorder, rule out learning disabilities, and adjustment.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or
equal the requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual Functional Capacity: Mr. Bell can
perform light work subject to additional physical,
environments and mental limitations.
Step four: Mr. Bell cannot perform past
Step five: Mr. Bell can perform other jobs
in the national economy and is not disabled.
Tr. 18-32. The ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's
final decision because the Appeals Council denied review.
The ALJ's Evaluation of Dr. Bowes' Opinions
Bowes opined that Mr. Bell is moderately limited in his
mental ability to perform basic work functions and is
markedly limited in “understanding, remembering, and
persisting in tasks by following detailed instructions, and
performing activities within a schedule, maintaining regular
attendance and being punctual with customary tolerances
without special supervision.” Tr. 28. The ALJ gave Dr.
Bowes' opinions “some weight” but gave
“the marked limitation in persistence . . . little