United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S FINAL DECISION
AND DISMISSING THE CASE WITH PREJUDICE
Honorable Richard A. Jones, United States District Judge
seeks review of the denial of his applications for
supplemental security income and disability insurance
benefits. Plaintiff contends the Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) erred by (1) failing to fully accept any
of the medical opinions in the record, and therefore basing
the physical limitations of Plaintiff's residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) on the ALJ's own
lay medical opinions, and (2) rejecting the opinions of
examining doctor Jai Ghandi, M.D. Pl. Op. Br. (Dkt. 10) at 1.
As discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the
final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) and DISMISSES
this case with prejudice.
is 43 years old, has a master's degree, and has worked as
a case manager, and customer service relations analyst, among
other things. See Admin. Record (“AR”)
39, 47-48, 78. Plaintiff applied for disability insurance
benefits on January 23, 2016, and supplemental security
income benefits on July 20, 2016, alleging disability as of
July 24, 2014. AR 78, 95, 213-14, 217-23. Plaintiff later
amended the alleged onset date to November 15, 2015. AR 47.
Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on
reconsideration. AR 77-121. After the ALJ conducted a hearing
on November 16, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding
Plaintiff not disabled. AR 15-24.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found:
Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since November 15, 2015, the
amended alleged onset date.
Step two: Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: Degenerative disc disease, status post-surgery;
lumbar post-laminectomy syndrome with stenosis and
radiculopathy; degenerative joint disease of the hips, right
greater than left and reportedly status post-replacement
after Plaintiff's date last insured; and obesity.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or
equal the requirements of a listed impairment.
RFC: Plaintiff can perform sedentary work as
defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a),
with additional limitations. He can never climb ladders,
ropes, or scaffolds. He can occasionally climb ramps and
stairs. He can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch,
and crawl. He can have occasional exposure to vibrations and
hazards such as heights and machinery.
Step four: Plaintiff is capable of
performing past relevant work as a telephone solicitor. This
work does not require the performance of work-related
activities precluded by Plaintiff's RFC.
Step five: Plaintiff is capable of
performing other jobs existing in significant numbers in the
national economy, such as document preparer, bench hand, and
food and beverage order clerk. Plaintiff is therefore not
AR 15-24. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review, making the ALJ's decision the