Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Robert R. v. Saul

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

October 11, 2019

ROBERT R., Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, [1] Defendant.

          ORDER RE: SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY APPEAL

          Mary Alice Theiler United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff proceeds through counsel in his appeal of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (Commissioner). The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's application for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) after a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Having considered the ALJ's decision, the administrative record (AR), and all memoranda of record, this matter is AFFIRMED.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff was born on XXXX, 1966.[2] He has two years of college education, and previously worked in store fixture design and manufacturing, and in project management for balcony manufacturing. (AR 244, 280.)

         Plaintiff applied for DIB in April 2016. (AR 113, 232-33.) That application was denied and Plaintiff timely requested a hearing. (AR 128-30, 134-41.)

         On March 8, 2018, ALJ Gerald Hill held a hearing, taking testimony from Plaintiff and a vocational expert. (AR 49-100.) On June 28, 2018, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. (AR 15-26.) Plaintiff timely appealed. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on October 17, 2018 (AR 1-6), making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. Plaintiff appealed this final decision of the Commissioner to this Court.

         JURISDICTION

         The Court has jurisdiction to review the ALJ's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         DISCUSSION

         The Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation process for determining whether a claimant is disabled. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920 (2000). At step one, it must be determined whether the claimant is gainfully employed. The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 19, 2015, the alleged onset date. (AR 17.) At step two, it must be determined whether a claimant suffers from a severe impairment. The ALJ found severe Plaintiff's seizure disorder, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (AR 17-19.) Step three asks whether a claimant's impairments meet or equal a listed impairment. The ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or equal the criteria of a listed impairment. (AR 19-20.)

         If a claimant's impairments do not meet or equal a listing, the Commissioner must assess residual functional capacity (RFC) and determine at step four whether the claimant has demonstrated an inability to perform past relevant work. The ALJ found Plaintiff capable of performing light work, with additional limitations: he can stand/walk for four hours out of an eight-hour workday. He can frequently push/pull with the right arm. He can frequently climb ramps and stairs, and kneel. He can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He can occasionally stoop and crawl. He can frequently reach overhead with the right upper extremity. He should avoid concentrated exposure to pulmonary irritants and even moderate exposure to hazards. (AR 20.) With that assessment, the ALJ found Plaintiff able to perform past relevant work as a contract administrator, production superintendent, and project manager, as actually and generally performed. (AR 26.)

         If a claimant demonstrates an inability to perform past relevant work, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to demonstrate at step five that the claimant retains the capacity to make an adjustment to work that exists in significant levels in the national economy. Because the ALJ found Plaintiff capable of performing past relevant work, the ALJ did not proceed to step five. (AR 26.)

         This Court's review of the ALJ's decision is limited to whether the decision is in accordance with the law and the findings supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. See Penny v. Sullivan, 2 F.3d 953, 956 (9th Cir. 1993). Substantial evidence means more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance; it means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Magallanes v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 747, 750 (9th Cir. 1989). If there is more than one rational interpretation, one of which supports the ALJ's decision, the Court must uphold that decision. Thomas v. Barnhart, 278 F.3d 947, 954 (9th Cir. 2002).

         Plaintiff argues the ALJ erred in (1) failing to fully develop the record, (2) discounting his subjective symptom testimony; and (3) assessing certain medical evidence and opinions.[3] The Commissioner argues that the ALJ's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.