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Meadows v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

July 5, 2018

HUBY MEADOWS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner of Social Security for Operations, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING THE CASE FOR FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

          THE HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Huby Meadows, seeks review of the denial of his application for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred in evaluating plaintiff's testimony, several medical opinions, and lay witness testimony. Dkt. 11 at 1. 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. § 405(g).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is currently 63 years old, has a high school education, and has worked as a security guard, musician/guitarist, armored car guard and driver, and water truck driver. Tr. 87, 1172, 93-94, 41.

         On August 31, 2011, plaintiff's neck and shoulders were injured in the course of his work as an armored truck guard and driver. Tr. 914. He did not work after October 16, 2011. Tr. 915. He was further injured in January 2012 during physical therapy to treat the work-related injury. Tr. 915-16. Plaintiff underwent several examinations related to his worker's compensation claim for these injuries. See Tr. 914, 1165.

         On January 23, 2014, plaintiff applied for disability benefits, alleging disability as of October 16, 2011. Tr. 30. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. Id. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on July 16, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 30-42.

         THE ALJ'S DECISION

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

Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of October 16, 2011.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, degenerative joint disease of the left shoulder, history of sprain of the left knee with meniscus tear with surgical repair.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can perform light work, lifting/carrying 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, standing/walking about six hours, and sitting for six hours. He can climb ramps or stairs frequently and ladders, ropes or scaffolds 12 feet or shorter occasionally. He can occasionally stoop, frequently kneel and crouch, and never crawl. He can occasionally reach overhead. He must avoid concentrated exposure to excessive vibration such as a jackhammer and to workplace hazards.
Step four: Plaintiff can perform past relevant work as a security guard, musician and singer, and thus ...

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