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Harris v. Berryhill

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

July 9, 2018

DOUGLAS A. HARRIS, JR., Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner of Social Security for Operations, Defendant.



         I. BASIC DATA

         Type of Benefits Sought:

(X) Disability Insurance
(X) Supplemental Security Income


Sex: Male
Age: 36 at the time of alleged disability onset

         Principal Disabilities Alleged by Plaintiff: Bipolar II disorder; obsessive compulsive disorder; racing thoughts; obsessive thoughts; anger; bad veins in legs removed in 2006; allergy to sunlight. AR at 107.

         Disability Allegedly Began: May 31, 2010[1]

         Principal Previous Work Experience: heating and air conditioning service technician; building maintenance worker; warehouse worker; delivery route driver.

         Education Level Achieved by Plaintiff: High school diploma.


         Before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)[2]:

Date of Hearing: November 7, 2016
Date of Decision: February 24, 2017
Appears in Record at: AR 10-37
Summary of Decision:

         The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 3, 2011 (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1571, et seq., and 416.971, et seq.);

         The claimant has the following severe impairments: right knee medial meniscus tear, status post arthroscopic repair; mild chronic neurogenic motor unit changes of the bilateral upper extremities; right rotator cuff tendinopathy; likely asthma versus perennial/seasonal allergic rhinitis; obesity (ending in 2016); major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate; bipolar disorder; anxiety disorder; personality disorder NOS (antisocial and/or borderline); attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c));

         The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926);

         After careful consideration of the entire record, the ALJ found that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c). He can occasionally climb. He can frequently balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. He can occasionally reach overhead. He can have occasional exposure to vibration, vibrating tools, machines, and vehicles. He can have occasional exposure to pulmonary irritants such as dust, fumes, odors, gases, pollens, airborne pollutants, and poor ventilation. He can have occasional exposure to hazardous conditions such as proximity to unprotected heights and moving machinery. He can adapt to a predictable work routine in terms of assigned tasks and the procedures for accomplishing those tasks. He can understand, carry out, and remember instructions. He can use average judgment in making work-related decisions. He is limited to occasional and superficial interaction with the public and with coworkers.

         The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a building maintenance worker. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1565 and 416.965);

         Born on XXXX, 1973, [3] the claimant is a younger individual age 18-49 (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1563 and 416.963);

         The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1564 and 416.964);

         Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or not he has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2);

         Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant also can perform (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969, and 416.969(a));

         The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from September 22, 2011 through the date of this decision (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(f) and 416.920(f)).

         Before Appeals Council:

Date of Decision: August 4, 2017
Appears in Record at: AR 1-6
Summary of Decision: Denied review.


         Jurisdiction based upon: 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)

         Brief on Merits Submitted by (X) Plaintiff (X) Commissioner


         Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court may set aside Defendant Nancy Berryhill's (the “Commissioner”) denial of Social Security benefits when 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 (9th Cir. 2005). “Substantial evidence” is more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance, and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Magallanes v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 747, 750 (9th Cir. 1989). The ALJ is responsible for determining credibility, resolving conflicts in medical testimony, and resolving any other ambiguities that might exist. Andrews v. Shalala, 53 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 1995). While the Court is required to examine the record as a whole, it may neither reweigh the evidence nor substitute its judgment for ...

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