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Friedrichsen v. Berryhill

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

July 5, 2018

ROGER A. FRIEDRICHSEN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner of Social Security for Operations, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING THE COMMISSIONER AND REMANDING FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

          BRIAN A. TSUCHIDA CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Roger A. Friedrichsen appeals the ALJ's decision finding him not disabled. The parties agrees the ALJ's decision should be reversed, but disagree on whether the Court should remand for further proceedings or for a finding of disability. Dkt. 13, 18. For the reasons 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 56 years old; has a high school diploma and some college education, plus additional training in operating heavy equipment; and has worked as an appraiser's assistant, automotive mechanic, and HVAC installer. Tr. 72-73, 215, 237-41. In August 2014, he protectively applied for benefits, alleging disability as of December 1, 2012. Tr. 105, 190-96. His application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 128-34, 136-40. The ALJ conducted a hearing on June 24, 2016 (Tr. 63-104), and subsequently found plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 34-44. As the Appeals Council denied plaintiff request for review, the ALJ's decision is 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: Plaintiff did not engage in substantial gainful activity between his alleged onset date and his date last insured (“DLI”), June 30, 2013.
Step two: Plaintiff's obesity, bilateral hand osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cervical degenerative disc disease were severe impairments through the DLI.
Step three: Through the DLI, these impairments did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”): Through the DLI, plaintiff could perform light work with additional limitations: he could only frequently push/pull with his upper extremities. He could frequently climb ramps and stairs and only occasionally climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He could frequently balance, stoop, and crouch, but could only occasionally crawl. He could only occasionally perform overhead reaching bilaterally. He could frequently handle and finger with his right upper extremity. He could not be exposed to vibrations or hazards such as moving mechanical parts or unprotected heights.
Step four: Through the DLI, plaintiff could perform his past work as an appraiser assistant.
Step five: Alternatively, plaintiff can perform other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy.

Tr. ...


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