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.

Barnes v. Berryhill

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

July 13, 2018

Jeffery J. Barnes, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner Social Security, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued and Submitted May 11, 2018 Portland, Oregon

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Oregon Michael H. Simon, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 3:15-cv-01424-SI

          Lindsey Craven (argued) and Merrill Schneider, Schneider Kerr & Robichaux, Portland, Oregon, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

          Thomas 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. [*]

         SUMMARY[**]

         Social Security

         The 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.

         The 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.

          OPINION

          BLOCK, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Jeffrey 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).

         We now 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.[1] We hold that it does and reverse and remand for further proceedings.

         Background

         In 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.[2] 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 years old.

         The ALJ issued a written decision on January 15, 2014. Applying the familiar five-step process, [3] 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.

         Before 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 ...


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.