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Linderman v. Berryhill

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

July 27, 2018

GARRETT WADE LINDERMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner of Social Security for Operations, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING THE CASE FOR FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, Garrett Wade Linderman, seeks review of the denial of his application for Supplemental Security Income. Plaintiff's lawyer filed an opening brief that violates the Court's scheduling order (Dkt. 8), in that it fails to list the errors alleged beginning on page one, and sets forth the issue for review in general statements, exactly as the Court prohibits. Counsel is advised that future briefs that fail to conform to the Court's scheduling order may be summarily stricken.

         Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by rejecting the opinions of three doctors. Dkt. 9. 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 55 years old, has a high school education, and has no past relevant work. Tr. 30. Plaintiff applied for benefits in May 2014, alleging disability as of June 2013. Tr. 21. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 21. After the ALJ conducted a hearing in June 2016, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 21-31.

         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 May 2014 application date.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the spine, rotator cuff tendonitis, chronic liver disease, chronic renal failure, anxiety, substance abuse, and antisocial personality disorder.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can perform light work, further limited to occasional overhead reaching bilaterally. He can frequently climb ramps and stairs and occasionally climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He can frequently balance, stoop, kneel and crouch, and occasionally crawl. He can have no exposure to extremes of temperature or gases, chemicals or fumes. He can perform simple, routine tasks and follow short, simple instructions. He can do work that needs little or no judgment and can perform simple duties that can be learned on the job in less than 30 days. He can respond appropriately to supervision, but cannot be required to work in close coordination with coworkers where teamwork is required. He can have occasional changes in the work environment. He can do work that requires no contact with the general public to perform work tasks.
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. 23-31. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the ...


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