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Duggan v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

July 17, 2018

ALLEN A. DUGGAN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner of Social Security for Operations, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S FINAL DECISION AND DISMISSING THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Allen A. Duggan, seeks review of the denial of his application for Supplemental Security Income. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by finding his impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment, crediting unreliable medical records, and failing to consider all of his limitations. Dkt. 8. As discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's final decision and DISMISSES the case with prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is currently 27 years old, has at least a high school education, and has no past relevant work. Tr. 37. In 2009, plaintiff was a healthy, athletic 18-year-old who played soccer, tennis, and golf. Tr. 367, 470. For unknown reasons, his left leg then began wasting away and, by 2013, his doctor opined that he was “unlikely to become a physically active person” due to the atrophy. Tr. 442-43. In January 2014, plaintiff applied for SSI benefits, alleging disability as of October 2011. Tr. 24. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. Id. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on March 4, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 24-39.

         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 January 2014 application date.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: gastrocnemius and soleus muscle wasting of the left leg of unknown etiology, and congenital spinal stenosis with radiculopathy.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can perform sedentary work, lifting 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. He can stand and walk two hours and sit six hours a day. He may require the opportunity to change positions from seated to standing twice an hour for five minutes for pain relief without interrupting essential tasks. He may require the use of a cane when walking, so he can only carry items in one hand at a time. He cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He can occasionally climb ramps and stairs. He can only occasionally operate foot controls with his left foot. He can frequently balance and occasionally stoop, crouch, kneel, and crawl. He can have no exposure to hazards. Plaintiff can handle simple and complex instructions in a setting that does not require teamwork or public contact.
Step four: Plaintiff has no past relevant work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff can perform, he is not disabled.

Tr. 26-39. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the ...


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