United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
JANET S. KOBER, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner of Social Security for Operations, Defendant.
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT
RICHARD CREATURA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c),
Fed.R.Civ.P. 73 and Local Magistrate Judge Rule MJR 13
(see also Consent to Proceed before a United States
Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 2). This matter has been fully
briefed. See Dkt. 9, 10.
considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes
that the ALJ erred in evaluating plaintiff's credibility
because he did not give specific, clear and convincing
reasons for rejecting plaintiff's credibility. The
ALJ's reasons for rejecting plaintiff's credibility
relied on his assessment that plaintiff's daily
activities were in excess of her claimed limitations. This
was in error because the ALJ did not evaluate whether
plaintiff's daily activities met the threshold for
transferrable work skills, nor specify how her past reports
to others conflicted with her testimony. This credibility
determination was not harmless error because a more favorable
credibility determination may have added additional
limitations to plaintiff's residual functional capacity
and resulted in a different disability determination.
this Court orders that this matter be remanded in accordance
with sentence four of 42 USC §405(g).
JANET KOBER, was born in 1964 and was 48 years old on the
alleged date of disability onset of February 4, 2013.
See AR. 171-74. Plaintiff graduated from high school
and has had some vocational training. AR. 42. Plaintiff has
some work experience as a cashier but was terminated due to
attendance issues. AR. 43, 266-67.
to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe medically
determinable impairments of “degenerative disc disease
of the lumbar spine; migraine headaches; obesity; and chronic
pain syndrome (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).” AR. 23.
time of the hearing, plaintiff was living with her husband.
application for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (Title
II) of the Social Security Act were denied initially and
following reconsideration. See AR. 61-71, 74-85.
Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge Gary Elliott (“the ALJ”)
on May 13, 2016. See AR. 37-60. On June 23, 2016,
the ALJ issued a written decision in which the ALJ concluded
that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to the Social
Security Act. See AR. 18-36.
plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following
issues: (1) Did the Commissioner err in determining
plaintiff's severe impairments; (2) Did the Commissioner
err in determining plaintiff's RFC; (3) Did the
Commissioner err in evaluating plaintiff's credibility;
and (4) Did the Commissioner err in evaluating the opinion
evidence. See Dkt. 9, p. 2.
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court may set aside the
Commissioner's denial of social security benefits if the
ALJ's findings are based on legal error or not supported
by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Bayliss
v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211, 1214 n.1 ...