United States District Court, W.D. Washington
ROCHELLE A. RUFFIN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
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. 6). This matter
has been fully briefed. See Dkt. 13, 14, 15.
considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes
that the ALJ erred when evaluating plaintiff's
allegations and testimony. Although the ALJ relied on
plaintiff's activities of daily living when failing to
credit fully her allegations, none of these activities
demonstrate an inconsistency with plaintiff's allegations
and they do not appear to be transferable to competitive
employment. Therefore, the ALJ erred when concluding that
these activities of daily living entail a valid reason for
failing to credit fully plaintiff's allegations.
this matter is reversed and remanded pursuant to sentence
four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to the Acting Commissioner
for further consideration consistent with this order.
ROCHELLE A. RUFFIN, was born in 1985 and was 27 years old on
the alleged date of disability onset of September 9, 2012.
See AR. 302-305, 306-11. Plaintiff has one year of
college. AR. 51. Plaintiff has some work history in
janitorial services, as a cashier, as a customer service
specialist and as an administrative assistant. (AR. 337-51).
to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe impairment of
“hereditary hemolytic anemia (sickle cell) (20 CFR
404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).” AR. 16.
time of the hearing, plaintiff was living with her 7-year-old
son. AR. 77-78.
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. 82, 83, 100, 101.
Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge Tom Morris (“the ALJ”)
on January 12, 2015 and continued to May 21, 2015.
See AR. 49-81, 31-48. On August 10, 2015, the ALJ
issued a written decision in which the ALJ concluded that
plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to the Social Security
Act. See AR. 11-30.
plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following
issues: (1) Whether the ALJ erred in finding that plaintiff
was less than credible and in failing to provide legally
sufficient explanation for his finding; (2) Whether the
ALJ's conclusion that the plaintiff is capable of meeting
attendance tolerances of employers is supported by
substantial evidence in the record; and (3) Whether the ALJ
erred in failing to properly consider the opinion of the
treating physician in the record and in failing to provide
adequate explanation for not according this opinion more
weight. See Dkt. 13, p. 2.
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 ...