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Martin M. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

September 24, 2019

MARTIN M., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING THE COMMISSIONER’S FINAL DECISION AND REMANDING THE CASE FOR FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff seeks review of the denial of his applications for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits, and requests remand for further proceedings. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred in addressing two medical opinions. 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 46 years old, has a high school education, and has worked as a pawnbroker, supervisor, laborer, cook, sales attendant, hotel clerk, and night auditor. Dkt. 7, Admin. Record (AR) 25. Plaintiff applied for benefits in May 2015, alleging disability as of September 1, 2014. AR 109. Plaintiff’s applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. AR 107, 108, 133, 134. After the ALJ conducted a hearing in July 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. AR 33, 13-27.

         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 September 2014 alleged onset date.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: obesity, lumbar spine disease, thyroid disease, sleep apnea, major depressive disorder, and anxiety 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 frequently climbing ramps and stairs and occasionally climbing ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. He can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. He must avoid concentrated exposure to hazards. He can have no public contact and only occasional contact with coworkers.
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, Plaintiff is not disabled.

AR 16-27. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request for review, making the ALJ’s decision the ...


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