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Chris B. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

September 10, 2019

CHRIS B., 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. Paintiff contends the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred in discounting certain medical opinions. (Dkt. # 10 at 1-2.) As discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's final decision and DISMISSES the case with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born in 1967, has a tenth-grade education, and has worked as a carpet cleaner, recycling truck driver, transfer garbage truck driver, construction driver, and short-haul truck driver. AR at 47, 242. He testified at the 2018 administrative hearing that he started working again part-time after the adjudicated period, in 2016. Id. at 751-52.

         In July 2013, Plaintiff applied for benefits, alleging disability as of June 17, 2013.[1] AR at 99, 184-90. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing. Id. at 132-34, 136-42. After the ALJ conducted a hearing in December 2015 (id. at 39-67), the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. Id. at 17-33. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review (id. at 1-4), but the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted the parties' stipulation to reverse the Commissioner's decision and remand the case for further administrative proceedings. Id. at 798.

         On remand, the ALJ held a hearing in October 2018 (AR at 744-65) and subsequently found Plaintiff not disabled. Id. at 635-52. Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [2] the ALJ found:

Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity during the time between his amended alleged onset date (January 1, 2014) and his date last insured (“DLI”) (December 31, 2015).
Step two: Through the DLI, Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: obesity, musculoskeletal conditions described as cervical and lumbar spine degenerative disc disease, rotator cuff injury, and right knee arthritis; and mental health conditions described as borderline intellectual functioning, learning disorder, depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and alcohol abuse in partial remission.
Step three: Through the DLI, these impairments did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[3]
Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”): Through the DLI, Plaintiff could perform light work with additional limitations: he could stand and walk two hours in an eight-hour workday, and sit six hours in an eight-hour workday. He could occasionally climb ramps and stairs. He could not climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He could frequently balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. He could occasionally reach overhead bilaterally. He should avoid concentrated exposure to vibration and hazards such as unprotected heights and exposed moving mechanical parts. He could understand and remember simple instructions and known detailed tasks. He had sufficient concentration, persistence, or pace to complete simple, routine tasks for a normal workday and workweek with normal breaks. He could adjust to simple changes in workplace procedures.
Step four: Through the DLI, Plaintiff could not perform past relevant work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff could have performed during the adjudicated period, Plaintiff was not disabled at any time during the adjudicated period.

Id.

         Plaintiff now seeks judicial review of the ALJ's decision.

         III. ...


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