United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING CASE FOR FURTHER
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge
seeks review of the denial of his application for Disability
Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by
discounting his testimony and the lay testimony of his wife,
and failing to account for all the limitations in a medical
opinion to which the ALJ gave great weight. Dkt. 11. As
discussed 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.
is currently 30 years old, has a high school education, and
has worked as an auto mechanic in the military. Tr. 39. In
June 2015, plaintiff applied for benefits, alleging
disability as of May 6, 2015. Tr. 25. Plaintiff's
applications were denied initially and on reconsideration.
Tr. 25. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on August 9, 2016,
the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled. Tr.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of
May 6, 2015.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety
disorder, mild bulge at ¶ 4-L5 with lumbar
radiculopathy, small disc protrusion at ¶ 6-C7, status
post tendon tear to the right ankle, and headaches.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or
equal the requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can
perform light work, except he can only occasionally climb
ladders, ropes or scaffolds and frequently stoop, crouch, or
climb ramps or stairs. He can perform simple, routine tasks
with a reasoning level of 1 or 2. He can have no public
contact and only occasional superficial contact with
coworkers. He should avoid concentrated exposure to workplace
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform past
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff
can perform, he is not disabled.
Tr. 27-40. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request
for review, making the ALJ's decision the
Commissioner's final decision. Tr. 1.
there is no dispute that plaintiff has several physical and
mental impairments, the only issues under review here concern
mental impairments. Plaintiff argues that his testimony and
his wife's statements establish that he needs to take
irregular breaks during the day to rest because his nighttime
sleep is severely disrupted by night sweats, night terrors,
and nightmares, and that he has irregular anger outbursts.
Dkt. 11 at 4-5. Plaintiff also contends that medical opinions
establish that his RFC must include limitations on
interacting with supervisors and on routine changes and
stressful situations. Dkt. 11 at 10.
Examining Medical Source M. ...