United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division
DAVID P. BARTLETT, Plaintiff.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL. Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
KATHERINE L. EITENMILLER MARK A. MANNING Harder, Wells, Baron
& Manning, P.C. BILLY J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney
RENATA GOWIE Assistant United States Attorney District of
COURTNEY GARCIA Special Assistant United States Attorney
Office of the General Counsel Of Attorneys for Defendant
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Clarke United States Magistrate Judge
David P. Bartlett ("Bartlett") seeks judicial
review of the final decision by the Social Security
Commissioner ("Commissioner") denying his
application for Disability Insurance Benefits
("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act
("SSA"). This Court has jurisdiction to review the
Commissioner's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). Based on a careful review of the record, the
Commissioner's decision should be REVERSED and the case
REMANDED for further proceedings.
filed for DIB on November 13, 2012, alleging disability as of
April 17, 2010. Tr. 19. His application was denied initially
and upon reconsideration, and a hearing was held on September
18, 2014, before an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ"); Bartlett was represented by counsel and
testified, as did a vocational expert ("VE"). Tr.
40-72. On November 13, 2014, ALJ John Michaelsen issued a
decision finding Bartlett not disabled. Tr. 19-29. Bartlett
requested timely review of the ALJ's decision and, after
the Appeals Council denied his request for review. filed a
complaint in this Court. Tr. 1-3.
1963, Bartlett was 46 years old on the disability onset date.
Tr. 28. He graduated high school, and took two years of
college classes. Tr. 167. He previously worked as a public
relations assistant, public affairs specialist, publicist,
and automotive repair employee. Tr. 168. He alleges
disability due to depression; sleeplessness; and high
cholesterol. Tr. 575.
PTSD and depression stem from a plane crash in November,
1996. Tr. 330-31. Bartlett. then a member of the United
States Air Force, was invited on a training mission in
California with 11 fellow service members. Id. He
declined the invitation and the plane carrying his friends
crashed, leaving only one survivor. Id. Three years
after the crash. Bartlett attempted suicide and subsequently
sought counseling to help his PTSD and depression. Tr. 332.
his current application, Bartlett filed for disability and
was denied on April 24. 2003; the Appeals Council upheld the
ALJ's decision. Tr. 19.
September 17, 2009, Bartlett checked himself into the
emergency room for suicidal ideation; the hospital admitted
him for six days to monitor and treat his depression Tr. 228.
Bartlett received mental health treatment from the
Veteran's Administration ("VA") from November
2010 until February 2013. Tr. 320-574.
claimant is disabled if he or she is unable to "engage
in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which .
. . has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than 12 months[.]" 42 U.S.C. >J
423(d)(1)(A). "Social Security Regulations set out a
five-step sequential process for determining whether an
applicant is disabled within the meaning of the Social
Security Act." Keyser v. Comm'r, 648 F.3d
721, 724 (9th Cir. 2011). Each step is potentially
dispositive. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4). The Five-step
sequential process asks the following series of questions:
the claimant performing "substantial gainful
activity?" 20 C.F.R. § 4O4.l52O(a)(4)(i). This
activity is work involving significant mental or physical
duties done or intended to be done for pay or profit. 20
C.F.R. § 404.1510. If the claimant is performing such
work, she is not disabled within the meaning of the Act. 20
C.F.R. § 4O4.l52O(a)(4)(i). If the claimant is not
performing substantial gainful activity, the analysis
proceeds to step two.
the claimant's impairment "severe" under the
Commissioner's regulations? 20 C.F.R. §
4O4.l52O(a)(4)(ii). Unless expected to result in death, an
impairment is "severe" if it significantly limits
the claimant's physical or mental ability to do basic
work activities. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1521(a). This
impairment must have lasted or must be expected to last for a
continuous period of at least 12 months. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1509. If the claimant does not have a severe impairment,
the analysis ends. 20 C.F.R. § 4O4.l52O(a)(4)(ii). If
the claimant has a severe impairment, the analysis proceeds
to step three.
the claimant's severe impairment "meet or
equal" one or more of the impairments listed in 20
C.F.R. Part 404. Subpart P, Appendix 1? If so, then the
claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. £ 4O4.l52O(a)(4)(iii).
If the impairment does not meet or equal one or more of the
listed impairments, the analysis proceeds beyond step three.
At that point, the ALJ must evaluate medical and other
relevant evidence to assess and determine the claimant's
"residual functional capacity''
("RFC"). This is an assessment of work-related
activities that the claimant may still perform on a regular
and continuing basis, despite any limitations imposed by his
or her impairments. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e);
4O4.l545(b)-(c). After the ALJ determines the claimant's
RFC, the analysis proceeds to step four.
the claimant perform his or her "past relevant
work" with this RFC assessment? If so, then the claimant
is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 4O4.l52O(a)(4)(iv). If the
claimant cannot perform his or her ...