Jeffery J. Barnes, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner Social Security, Defendant-Appellee.
and Submitted May 11, 2018 Portland, Oregon
from the United States District Court for the District of
Oregon Michael H. Simon, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No.
Lindsey Craven (argued) and Merrill Schneider, Schneider Kerr
& Robichaux, Portland, Oregon, for Plaintiff-Appellant.
M. Elsberry (argued), Special Assistant United States
Attorney; Erin F. Highland, Assistant Regional Counsel;
Matthew W. Pile, Acting Regional Chief Counsel, Seattle
Region X; Office of the General Counsel, Social Security
Administration, Seattle, Washington; Janice E. Hebert,
Assistant United States Attorney; Billy J. Williams, United
States Attorney; United States Attorney's Office,
Seattle, Washington; for Defendant-Appellee.
Before: Johnnie B. Rawlinson and Morgan Christen, Circuit
Judges, and Frederic Block, District Judge. [*]
panel reversed the district court's judgment affirming
the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of an
application for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income under the Social Security Act,
and remanded for further proceedings.
panel held that the administrative law judge's
("ALJ") failure to make written findings regarding
transferability of skills, required by Social Security Ruling
82-41, prevented the panel from determining whether
substantial evidence supported the ALJ's determination at
Step Five of the sequential evaluation process that claimant
was able to perform other work and therefore was not disabled
under the Act. The panel held that neither the ALJ nor the
vocational expert stated what skills, if any, claimant had
acquired from his past work and whether those skills were
transferable to the semi-skilled jobs identified by the
vocational expert. The panel concluded that SSR 82-41
obligated the ALJ to make transferability of skills findings.
Barnes appeals the district court's judgment affirming
the Commissioner of Social Security's
("Commissioner") decision denying his application
for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and
supplemental security income ("SSI"). Barnes argues
that the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") erred at
Step Five of his disability determination by failing to make
specific written findings regarding transferability of skills
as required by Social Security Ruling ("SSR")
82-41. We last addressed the scope of SSR 82-41 in Bray
v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration, 554
F.3d 1219, 1223-26 (9th Cir. 2009).
revisit the subject to consider a question that did not arise
in Bray: whether SSR 82-41 obligates the ALJ to make
transferability of skills findings where, unlike
Bray, no Grid rule states that a person with the
claimant's age, education, and work experience is
disabled absent transferable skills. We hold that it does and
reverse and remand for further proceedings.
March 2012, Barnes filed an application for DIB and SSI,
alleging disability from multiple impairments, including
chronic pain and swelling in his left leg and respiratory
disease that required the use of supplemental oxygen. He has
a high school education and worked previously as a machinist,
a skilled position, and an off-bearer, an unskilled
position. The Social Security Administration
("the Administration") denied Barnes's
application, and, on December 31, 2013, he had a hearing
before an ALJ. At the time of the hearing, Barnes was 47
issued a written decision on January 15, 2014. Applying the
familiar five-step process,  the ALJ determined that (1)
Barnes had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since
the alleged onset date; (2) his morbid obesity, respiratory
diseases, disorders affecting his leg, alcohol abuse,
hypertension, and mental disorders were severe impairments;
but (3) those impairments did not meet or medically equal the
criteria of a listing.
reaching Step Four, the ALJ found Barnes had the residual
functional capacity ("RFC") to perform sedentary
work with several restrictions. For example, he needed to
"sit or stand for 2 to 3 minutes at a time at 30 to 45
minute intervals, during which period he may remain on
task," could never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds,
and had to avoid even moderate exposure to potential
respiratory irritants. Applying that RFC, the ALJ ...