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Patterson v. Berryhill

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

April 24, 2018

LISA KAYE PATTERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER AND DISMISSING THE CASE

          ROBERT S. LASNIK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Lisa Kaye Patterson seeks review of the denial of her application for Disability Insurance Benefits. She contends the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred in (1) failing to consider whether her fibromyalgia satisfied any listings at step three; (2) discounting her subjective testimony; (3) discounting certain medical evidence; (4) discounting lay statements; (5) assessing her residual functional capacity (“RFC”); and (6) finding that she could perform her past work as well as other jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy. Dkt. 7 at 1-2. For the reasons below, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's final decision and DISMISSES the case with prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         Ms. Patterson is currently 58 years old, has a 10th-grade education and a GED, and has worked as a teacher's aide. Tr. 54-55, 78. In October 2013, she applied for benefits, alleging disability as of June 1, 2002, with a date last insured (“DLI”) of March 31, 2009. Tr. 155-56, 167. Her application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 104-06, 108-09. The ALJ conducted a hearing on October 6, 2015 (Tr. 40-91), and subsequently issued a decision finding Ms. Patterson not disabled. Tr. 22-34. The Appeals Council denied Ms. Patterson's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. Tr. 1-6.

         THE ALJ'S DECISION

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

Step one: Ms. Patterson did not engage in substantial gainful activity between her alleged onset date and her date last insured (“DLI”).
Step two: Through the DLI, Ms. Patterson's degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine and fibromyalgia were severe impairments.
Step three: These impairments did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
RFC: Through the DLI, Ms. Patterson could perform light work with additional limitations: she must be allowed to sit or stand as needed. She could occasionally stoop and crouch sufficiently to get in and out of a chair. She could not climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She could not balance, kneel, or crawl. She could occasionally climb ramps or stairs. She should avoid even moderate exposure to extreme heat or cold, vibration, and hazards.
Step four: Through the DLI, Ms. Patterson could perform her past work as a teacher's aide.
Step five: In the alternative, as there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Ms. Patterson could perform before the DLI, she is not disabled.

Tr. ...


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