United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER REVERSING THE COMMISSIONER'S FINAL DECISION
AND REMANDING THE CASE FOR FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
seeks review of the denial of her application for disability
insurance benefits. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by
rejecting the opinions of treating doctors Ronald Graf, M.D.,
and Urooj Jaffer, M.D. Pl. Op. Br. (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.
is 56 years old, has a high school education, and has worked
as an insurance clerk, billing clerk, and accounting clerk.
Admin. Record (“AR”) (Dkt. 8) 24, 36, 187.
Plaintiff applied for benefits on January 28, 2016, alleging
disability as of September 17, 2015. AR 66, 165-66.
Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on
reconsideration. AR 66-95. After the ALJ conducted a hearing
on November 21, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding
Plaintiff not disabled. AR 15-25.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since September 17, 2015, the
alleged onset date.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: Type I diabetes, stage III chronic kidney
disease and status post-kidney transplant, major depressive
disorder, panic disorder, and diabetic retinopathy.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or
equal the requirements of a listed impairment.
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can
perform light work with limitations. She can frequently climb
ramps and stairs, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. She can
never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She can
occasionally reach overhead with her left non-dominant arm.
She can never be exposed to excessive noise. She cannot
perform fine detail work. She can frequently read. She can
work in an environment free of fast-paced production
requirements. She can have only normal, routine work place
changes. She can only have occasional interaction with the
Step four: Plaintiff can perform past
relevant work as an insurance clerk, billing clerk, and
accounting clerk. This work does not require the performance
of work-related activities precluded by Plaintiff's RFC.
Plaintiff is therefore not disabled.
Step five: The ALJ did not reach step five.
AR 15-25. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review, making the ALJ's decision the