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Justin B. v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

December 3, 2019

JUSTIN B., 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. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by rejecting the opinions of treating neurologist W. Dale Overfield, M.D., and relying on the opinions of non-examining doctor Mark Magdaleno, M.D. Pl. Op. Br. (Dkt. 9) 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 41 years old, has an 11th grade education, and has worked as a truck driver. Admin. Record (“AR”) (Dkt. 11) 43. Plaintiff applied for benefits on June 4, 2015, alleging disability as of January 11, 2011. See AR 70, 221-33. Plaintiff later amended his alleged onset date to June 4, 2015. AR 41, 43. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. AR 72-96, 99-126. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on September 19, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. AR 15-26.

         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 June 4, 2015, the amended alleged onset date.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: Migraines, major depressive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[2]
Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”): Plaintiff can perform the full range of work at all exertional levels with non-exertional limitations. He can occasionally climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. He can occasionally balance. He can have occasional exposure to hazards, bright lights, extreme temperatures, and extreme humidity. He can occasionally engage in commercial driving. He can understand, remember, and apply detailed but not complex instructions.
Step four: Plaintiff cannot perform past relevant work.
Step five: Considering Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that he can perform, so Plaintiff is not disabled.

AR 15-26. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the ...


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