Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Taylor v. Berryhill

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 22, 2017

TIM W. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1]Defendant.

          Kathryn Tassinari Robert Baron Harder, Wells, Baron & Manning, P.C. Attorney for Plaintiff

          Billy J. Williams United States Attorney District of Oregon Janice E. Hebert Assistant United States Attorney, Lisa Goldoftas Special Assistant United States Attorney Attorneys for Defendant

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Garr M. King United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Tim Taylor brings this action pursuant to section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner denying plaintiff's application for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”). I affirm the decision of the Commissioner.

         BACKGROUND

         Taylor filed an application for DIB on October 25, 2011, alleging disability as of November 14, 2008. The application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. After a timely request for a hearing, Taylor, represented by counsel, appeared and testified before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on March 17, 2014.

         On March 28, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding Taylor was not disabled within the meaning of the Act and therefore not entitled to benefits. This decision became the final decision of the Commissioner when the Appeals Council declined to review the decision of the ALJ on May 27, 2015.

         DISABILITY ANALYSIS

         The Social Security Act (the “Act”) provides for payment of disability insurance benefits to people who have contributed to the Social Security program and who suffer from a physical or mental disability. 42 U.S.C. § 423(a)(1). In addition, under the Act, supplemental security income benefits may be available to individuals who are age 65 or over, blind, or disabled, but who do not have insured status under the Act. 42 U.S.C. § 1382(a).

         The claimant must demonstrate an inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to cause death or to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months. 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A) and 1382c(a)(3)(A). An individual will be determined to be disabled only if his physical or mental impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy. 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(2)(A) and 1382c(a)(3)(B).

         The Commissioner has established a five-step sequential evaluation process for determining if a person is eligible for either DIB or SSI due to disability. The evaluation is carried out by the ALJ. The claimant has the burden of proof on the first four steps. Parra v. Astrue, 481 F.3d 742, 746 (9th Cir. 2007); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520 and 416.920. First, the ALJ determines whether the claimant is engaged in “substantial gainful activity.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(b) and 416.920(b). If the claimant is engaged in such activity, disability benefits are denied. Otherwise, the ALJ proceeds to step two and determines whether the claimant has a medically severe impairment or combination of impairments. A severe impairment is one “which significantly limits [the claimant's] physical or mental ability to do basic work activities[.]” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c). If the claimant does not have a severe impairment or combination of impairments, disability benefits are denied.

         If the impairment is severe, the ALJ proceeds to the third step to determine whether the impairment is equivalent to one of a number of listed impairments that the Commissioner acknowledges are so severe as to preclude substantial gainful activity. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d) and 416.920(d). If the impairment meets or equals one of the listed impairments, the claimant is conclusively presumed to be disabled. If the impairment is not one that is presumed to be disabling, the ALJ proceeds to the fourth step to determine whether the impairment prevents the claimant from performing work which the claimant performed in the past. If the claimant is able to perform work she performed in the past, a finding of “not disabled” is made and disability benefits are denied. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(f) and 416.920(f).

         If the claimant is unable to perform work performed in the past, the ALJ proceeds to the fifth and final step to determine if the claimant can perform other work in the national economy in light of his age, education, and work experience. The burden shifts to the Commissioner to show what gainful work activities are within the claimant's capabilities. Parra, 481 F.3d at 746. The claimant is entitled to disability benefits only if he is not able to perform other work. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The court must affirm a denial of benefits if the denial is supported by substantial evidence and is based on correct legal standards. Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir. 2012). Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion” and is more than a “mere scintilla” of the evidence but less than a preponderance. Id. (internal quotation omitted). The court must uphold the ALJ's findings if they “are supported by inferences reasonably drawn from the record[, ]” even if the evidence is susceptible to multiple rational interpretations. Id.

         THE ALJ'S DECISION

         The ALJ found Taylor last met the insured status requirements of the Act on December 31, 2013. Taylor, according to the ALJ, had the following severe impairments: borderline intellectual functioning; affective disorder; obesity; left hip arthritis; and right knee arthritis. The ALJ found that these impairments, either singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal the requirements of any of the impairments listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. Given these impairments, the ALJ concluded Taylor had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work with the following restrictions: he can occasionally lift and carry 20 pounds and frequently lift and carry ten pounds; he can stand or walk six hours, and sit for six hours, in an eight-hour day; he can frequently climb ramps or stairs, but can only occasionally climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; he has no limits balancing or stooping, but can only occasionally kneel, crouch, or crawl. Additionally, the ALJ found Taylor should avoid concentrated exposure to hazardous machinery or work at unprotected heights. He can understand, remember, and carry out simple instructions at jobs classified at SVP 1 or 2, or unskilled work. He can make judgements on simple work-related decisions and can respond appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and deal with occasional changes in the work environment. He has no difficulty dealing with the general public.

         Based on this RFC, and the testimony of a vocational expert (“VE”), the ALJ concluded Taylor could not perform his past work. He could, however, perform other work in the national economy such as fast food worker, cashier 2, and production assembler. As a result, the ALJ found Taylor not disabled under the terms of the Act.

         FACTS

         Taylor was 42 years old on his alleged disability onset date. He never graduated from high school or obtained his GED. He has work history in a lumber mill, but was laid off in 2008 when the company ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.