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Haynes v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

August 19, 2019

TRACY HAYNES G., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          MICHELLE L. PETERSON United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff seeks review of the denial of his application for Disability Insurance Benefits. Plaintiff contends the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred by rejecting the medical opinions of State agency physicians Guillermo Rubio, M.D. and Robert Hander, M.D., as well as the opinion of occupational therapist Christina Casady, OTR. (Dkt. # 8 at 1.) 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).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born in 1965, has a high school education and approximately two years of college. AR at 36. He worked as a pump station operator for fifteen years. Id. at 53. Plaintiff was last gainfully employed in 2015. Id. at 54.

         On April 6, 2016, Plaintiff applied for benefits, alleging disability as of September 30, 2015. AR at 34.[1] Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing. Id. at 15. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on January 23, 2018, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. Id. at 12-30.

Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [2] the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 30, 2015, the alleged onset date.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: sarcoidosis, fibromyalgia, depression, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[3]
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can perform “light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b)” except he can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but should never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; he can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; he can have occasional exposure to fumes, odors, dusts, gases, and poor ventilation; he can have occasional exposure to extreme cold, extreme heat, vibrations, and hazards such as heights and machinery; he should work in an environment free of fast-paced production requirements, with only occasional workplace changes, only occasional interaction with the public, and only occasional supervision.
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform past relevant work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform, ...

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