United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING FOR FURTHER
B. Leighton United States District Judge.
Lopez Capo seeks review of the denial of his application for
Disability Insurance Benefits. Mr. Capo contends the ALJ
erroneously rejected the opinions of Cynthia Collingwood,
Ph.D., Matthey Comire, Psy.D., and Gary L. Nelson, Ph.D., and
that the Court should remand the case for an award of
benefits. Dkt. 9. 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. Capo has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since November 30, 2012.
Step two: Degenerative disc disease of the
back, osteoarthritis of the hip and knee; sleep apenea;
coronary artery disease; hypertension; anxiety disorder;
personality disorder; and obesity are severe impairments.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or
equal the requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual Functional Capacity: Mr. Capo can
perform light work except he must avoid concentrated exposure
to hazards in the workplace. He can perform simple and
detailed tasks, but would have difficulties performing
complex tasks consistently, He can have occasional, brief,
and superficial interactions with the public. He can work in
proximity to coworkers and interact briefly with coworkers,
but would perform better in more solitary tasks. He can adapt
o occasional or less than occasional changes in a work place.
Step four: Mr. Capo cannot perform past
Step five: Mr. Capo can perform other jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy,
and is not disabled.
Tr. 22-35. The ALJ’s decision is the
Commissioner’s final decision because the Appeals
Council denied review. Tr. 1.
The ALJ’s Evaluation of the Medical Evidence
Cabo contends the ALJ erred in rejecting the opinions of
Cynthia Collingwood, Ph.D., Matthey Comire, Psy.D., and Gary
L. Nelson, Ph.D. The ALJ must generally give more weight to
the opinion of a treating physician than to a non-treating
physician, and more weight to the opinion of an examining
physician than to a non-examining physician. Lester v.
Chater, 81 F.3d 821, 830 (9th Cir. 1996). An ALJ does
this by setting out a detailed and thorough summary of the
facts and conflicting evidence, stating his or her
interpretation of the facts and evidence, and making
findings. Magallanes v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 747, 751
(9th Cir. 1989). The ALJ must do more than offer his or her
conclusions; he or she must also explain why his
interpretation, rather than the treating doctor’s
interpretation, is correct. Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d
625, 632 (9th Cir. 2007). Where not contradicted by another
physician, a treating or examining physician’s opinion
may be rejected only for “clear and convincing
reasons.” Lester, at 830-31. Where
contradicted, a treating or examining physician’s