United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING FOR FURTHER
Honorable Richard A. Jones, United States District Judge.
Robert K. seeks review of the denial of his applications for
Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance
Benefits. Plaintiff contends the administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) erred in evaluating the opinions of
testifying medical expert Paul Wiese, Ph.D., consulting
examiner David Morgan, Ph.D., and consulting examiner Peter
Weiss, Ph.D. Pl. Op. Br. (Dkt. 7) at 1. 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).
is 49 years old, has a sixth-grade education, and has worked
as a cook. Admin. Record (“AR”) (Dkt. 5) 87, 103,
110. On July 29, 2013, Plaintiff applied for benefits,
alleging disability as of June 1, 2011. AR 103.
Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on
reconsideration. AR 101-46. On June 22, 2015, ALJ Rudolph
Murgo held a hearing on Plaintiff's claims. AR 39-66. ALJ
Murgo issued a decision on October 6, 2015, in which he found
Plaintiff not disabled. AR 150-62.
April 20, 2017, the Appeals Council vacated ALJ Murgo's
decision and remanded the case back to the ALJ. AR 167-71.
remand, ALJ Murgo held a second hearing, at which he took
testimony from Plaintiff, medical expert Paul Wiese, Ph.D.,
and vocational expert Paul Morrison. AR 67-100. On February
5, 2018, ALJ Murgo issued a decision once again finding
Plaintiff not disabled. AR 15-32.
THE ALJ'S DECISION
the five-step disability evaluation process, 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920, the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since June 1, 2011, the alleged
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: Schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type), and
bipolar II disorder.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or
equal the requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”): Plaintiff can perform medium
work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(c) and
416.967(c), with exceptions. He can perform simple, routine
tasks (at a specific vocational preparation level one or two,
with a general educational development level of two or less).
He can have superficial coworker contact and no public
Step four: Plaintiff has no past relevant
Step five: There are jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff
can perform, so ...