United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING THE CASE FOR FURTHER
C. COUGHENOUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Michael John Midlam, seeks review of the denial of his
October 25, 2013, application for Supplemental Insurance
Security Income. Dkt. 1. Plaintiff contends the ALJ harmfully
erred by failing to account for all limitations assessed by
Thomas Clifford, Ph.D., Andrew Forsyth, Ph.D., Wendy
Hartinger, Psy.D., and Wendi Wachsmuth, Ph.D., and by failing
to provide clear and convincing reasons to reject
plaintiff's testimony. Dkt. 7 at 1-2. As relief,
plaintiff contends the Court should reverse the ALJ's
decision and remand the case for calculation of an award of
Commissioner disagrees, arguing the ALJ properly weighed the
medical evidence and provided valid reasons to discount
plaintiff's testimony. Dkt. 11. As discussed below, the
Court finds the ALJ harmfully erred and
REVERSES the Commissioner's final
decision. The Court finds there are outstanding issues to
resolve and accordingly REMANDS the matter
for further administrative proceedings under sentence four of
42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
the five-step disability evaluation process set forth in 20
C.F.R. § 416.920, the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since October 25, 2013.
Step two: Affective disorder, and human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are severe impairments.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or
equal the requirements of a listed impairment. See
20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P. Appendix 1.
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can
perform work at all exertional levels with the following
non-exertional limitations: he can only occasionally climb
ladders, ropes, scaffolds and have occasional exposure to
hazards such as unprotected heights and moving mechanical
parts. He is capable of simple, routine and repetitive tasks
with simple work-related decisions. He is limited to only
occasional interaction with supervisors and coworkers and no
interaction with the public.
Step four: Plaintiff can perform past
relevant work as a laborer/assembler-production line.
Step five: Alternatively, plaintiff can
perform other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the
national economy and is therefore not disabled.
Tr. 23-37. The ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's
final decision because the Appeals Council denied
plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 1. The rest of the
procedural history is not essential in determining the
outcome of the case and is thus not recounted.
Commissioner's determination that a claimant is not
disabled will be upheld if the findings of fact are supported
by substantial evidence in the record as a whole and the
proper legal standards were applied. Sc ...