United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING DEFENDANT'S
DECISION TO DENY BENEFITS
THERESA L. FRICKE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
has brought this matter for judicial review of
defendant's denial of his applications for disability
insurance and supplemental security income benefits. The
parties have consented to have this matter heard by the
undersigned Magistrate Judge. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court finds that defendant's decision to deny
benefits should be reversed, and that this matter should be
remanded for further administrative proceedings.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
filed applications for disability insurance and supplemental
security benefits on March 25, 2014. Dkt. 6, Administrative
Record (AR) 10, 240-248, 249-255. Plaintiff alleges that he
became disabled on December 8, 2011. AR 10, 50, 240, 249.
Plaintiffs applications were denied initially and on
reconsideration. AR 140-142, 143-146, 149-150, 151-152. After
a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an
unfavorable decision on December 7, 2017, AR 7-28, the
Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for review, making
the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. AR 1-6. Plaintiff appealed to this Court on
September 25, 201S, seeking reversal of the ALJ's
decision and a remand for an award of benefits. Dkt. 1, Dkt.
8, pp. 11-12.
Court will uphold an ALJ's decision unless: (1) the
decision is based on legal error; or (2) the decision is not
supported by substantial evidence. Revels v.
Berryhill, 874 F.3d 648, 654 (9th Cir. 2017).
Substantial evidence is "'such relevant evidence as
a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.'" Trevizo v. Berryhill, 871
F.3d 664, 674 (9th Cir. 2017) (quoting Desrosiers v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 846
F.2d 573, 576 (9th Cir. 1988)). This requires '"more
than a mere scintilla, "' though '"less
than a preponderance'" of the evidence. Id.
(quoting Desrosiers, 846 F.2d at 576).
Court must consider the administrative record as a whole.
Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009 (9th Cir.
2014). The Court is required to weigh both the evidence that
supports, and evidence that does not support, the ALJ's
conclusion. Id. The Court may not affirm the
decision of the ALJ for a reason upon which the ALJ did not
rely. Id. Only the reasons identified by the ALJ are
considered in the scope of the Court's review.
the ALJ err in evaluating the opinion of Erum Khaleeq, M.D.?
the ALJ err in evaluating the opinions of Peter Weiss, Ph.D.
and Janis Lewis, Ph.D.?
the ALJ err in her evaluation of Plaintiffs subjective
Commissioner employs a five-step sequential evaluation
process to determine if a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920. The ALJ assesses the
claimant's residual functional capacity ("RFC")
to determine at step five whether he or she can make an
adjustment to other work. Kennedy v. Colvin, 738
F.3d 1172, 1175 (9th Cir. 2013). It is the ALJ's burden
to show the claimant can perform jobs that exist "in
significant numbers in the national economy." Hill
v. Astrue, 698 F.3d 1153, 1161 (9th Cir, 2012); 20C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e).
case, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the residual
functional capacity to perform:
light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b).
He is able to occasionally reach overhead bilaterally. He is
able to perform simple routine tasks, which is defined as no
greater than reasoning level 2. He is able to perform work
that does not require public contact. He is able to perform
work that does not require more than occasional superficial
contact with co-workers and that does not require team tasks.
AR 15. Based on the vocational expert's testimony that an
individual with the same RFC as plaintiff-and the same age,
education, and work experience-could perform jobs existing in
significant numbers in the national economy, the ALJ
determined that were a significant number of light, unskilled