United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER REVERSING THE COMMISSIONER AND
A. Tsuchida Chief United States Magistrate Judge.
appeals the ALJ's decision finding him not disabled. He
contends the ALJ erred in assessing the medical evidence, and
in discounting his testimony and a lay
statement. Dkt. 12 at 1. Plaintiff requests the
matter be remanded for further proceedings. As discussed
below, the Court finds the ALJ erred in rejecting Dr.
Higgins' opinion and REVERSES the Commissioner's
final decision and REMANDS the case for further
is currently 49 years old, has a 12th-grade education and a
GED, and has worked as a construction worker, car accessory
inspector, and furniture delivery driver. Tr. 49, 252, 268-
71. In January 2016, he applied for benefits, alleging
disability as of January 1, 2015. Tr. 221-33. His applications
were denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 141-54,
157-68. The ALJ conducted a hearing on November 16, 2017 (Tr.
40-81), and subsequently found Plaintiff not disabled. Tr.
17-31. As the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review, the ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's
final decision. Tr. 1-6.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since the amended alleged onset
Step two: Plaintiff's history of
pancreatitis with associated gastritis and alcohol-related
ketoacitis, bilateral lower extremity polyneuropathy and
peripheral nerve disease related to alcoholism, substance
addiction disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder are
Step three: These impairments did not meet
or equal the requirements of a listed
RFC: Plaintiff can perform sedentary work
with additional impairments: he can stand/walk for no more
than about two hours in an eight-hour workday, and can sit
for at least six hours in an eight-hour workday. He could
occasionally lift/carry 10 pounds. He could not keep up with
fast-paced or rapid production demands. He could not work at
unprotected heights. He could not work in commercial driving
or otherwise operate potentially dangerous moving equipement.
He could infrequently use foot controls. He could only
occasionally be required to walk on uneven or broken ground.
He could not balance frequently. He should [not] work around
open containers of alcohol.
Step four: Plaintiff could not perform his
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff
can perform, he is not disabled.