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JO IDA P. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

November 20, 2019

JO IDA P., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER REVERSING THE COMMISSIONER AND REMANDING

          BRIAN A. TSUCHIDA CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff seeks review of the denial of her applications for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. She contends the ALJ erroneously assessed certain medical opinions and her residual functional capacity (“RFC”). Dkt. 10 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).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is currently 51 years old, has an associate's degree, and has worked as a typist, marketing coordinator, and category assistant. Tr. 38, 186-92. In January 2013, she applied for benefits, alleging disability as of December 29, 2010. Tr. 130-41. Her applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 76-78, 80-81. The ALJ conducted a hearing on September 24, 2014 (Tr. 33-54), and subsequently found Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 16-27.

         The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 1-6), and Plaintiff sought judicial review of the Commissioner's decision. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington reversed the ALJ's decision and remanded for further administrative proceedings. Tr. 1121-35. A different ALJ held a hearing on August 9, 2018 (Tr. 1064-1110), and subsequently found Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 1032-53. Plaintiff now seeks judicial review of that decision.

         THE ALJ'S DECISION

         Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [1] the ALJ found:

Step one: Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 29, 2010, the alleged onset date.
Step two: Plaintiff's diabetes mellitus, asthma, hypertension, obesity, sleep apnea, carpal tunnel syndrome, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression are severe impairments.
Step three: These impairments did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
RFC: Plaintiff can perform light work, with additional limitations: she is limited to performing unskilled, repetitive, routine tasks in two-hour increments. She can frequently handle and finger. She can have no contact with the public. She is capable of working in proximity to, but not in coordination with, co-workers. She can have occasional contact with supervisors. She can occasionally stoop, squat, crouch, crawl, kneel, and climb ramps and stairs. She can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She will be off task at work seven percent of the time, but can still meet minimum production requirements. She will be absent from work ten times per year. She must work in an environment free from smoke, chemicals, temperature extremes, and high humidity.
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform her past work.
Step five: As there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform, she is not disabled.

Tr. 1032-53.

         DISCUSSION

         A. ...


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