United States District Court, D. Oregon
J. WALL Attorney for Plaintiff
J. WILLIAMS, United States Attorney District of Oregon,
JANICE E. HEBERT Assistant United States Attorney LEISA A.
WOLF Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION AND ORDER
MALCOLM F. MARSH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Shelly Osier seeks judicial review of the final decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security denying her application
for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") disability
benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42
U.S.C. §§ 1381-1383f. This Court has jurisdiction
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). For
the reasons that follow, I reverse and remand the
Commissioner's decision for further administrative
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
protectively filed her application for SSI on September 20,
2012, alleging disability beginning August 1, 2003, due to
fatigue, cerebral palsy, lumbago, foot pain, post traumatic
stress disorder ("PTSD"), anxiety, and depression.
Tr. Soc. Sec. Admin. R. ("Ti\") at 73, 199, ECF No.
9. Plaintiffs claims were denied initially and upon
reconsideration. Plaintiff filed a request for a hearing
before an administrative lawjudge ("ALJ"). The ALJ
held a hearing on December 23, 2014, at which Plaintiff
appeared with her attorney and testified. A vocational
expert, Stephen R. Cardinal, also appeared at the hearing and
testified. On January 23, 2015, the ALJ issued an unfavorable
decision. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for
review, and therefore, the ALJ's decision became the
final decision of the Commissioner for purposes of review.
was born in 1965, and was 47 years old on the date her
application was filed. Plaintiff completed high school.
Plaintiff has past relevant work as a housekeeper. Tr. 29.
Plaintiff also has worked as a janitor, an appointment
setter, a dog washer, a dishwasher, a front desk clerk at a
motel, and packer, but these jobs did not qualify as past
relevant work. Tr, 101, 200, 206.
ALJ'S DISABILITY ANALYSIS
Commissioner lias established a five-step sequential process
for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowen v.
Yucketi, 482 U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R. §
416.920. Each step is potentially dispositive, The claimant
bears the burden of proof at steps one through four. See
Valentine v. Commissioner Soc. Sec. Admin., 574 F.3d
685, 689 (9th Cir. 2009); Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d
1094, 1098 (9th Cir, 1999). At step five, the burden shifts
to the Commissioner to show that the claimant can do other
work which exists in the national economy. Hill v.
Aslrue, 698 F.3d 1153, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012).
one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since her application date. At
step two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD,
depressive disorder, alcohol and substance addiction
disorder, borderline intellectual functioning, lumbago,
chronic pain, and congenital pes planus. At step three, the
ALJ found that Plaintiffs impairments, or combination of
impairments, did not meet or medically equal a listed
assessed Plaintiff with a residual functional capacity
("RFC") to perform light work with additional
She can stand and walk two hours total in an eight hour work
day. She can frequently climb ladders, ropes and scaffolds.
She can frequently stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. She can
understand and remember simple instructions. She has
sufficient concentration, persistence and pace to complete
simple, routine tasks for a normal workday and workweek with
normal breaks. She should have only occasional brief,
superficial interactions with coworkers and the general
public. She can accept supervision delivered in a normative
fashion. She also should not be in a job that requires more
than occasional verbal communication.
four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform her
past relevant work. At step five, the ALJ found that
considering Plaintiffs age, education, work experience, and
residual functional capacity, jobs exist in significant
numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform,
including such representative occupations as: small products
assembler, electronics worker, and electrical accessory
assembler. Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has
not been under a disability under the Social Security Act
since September 20, 2012.
appeal to this court, Plaintiff contends the following errors
were committed: (1) the ALJ erred by failing to find her
memory impairment severe at step two; (2) the ALJ erred at
step three in failing to evaluate whether Plaintiffs
impairments are equivalent to listing 12.05C; (3) the AIJ
improperly evaluated the opinion of Karla Causeya, Psy.D.;
and (4) the ALJ erred at step five in finding Plaintiff can
perform light work with additional limitations. The
Commissioner argues that the ALJ's decision is supported
by substantial ...