United States District Court, D. Arizona
A. BOWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff, Nathan Lukens, filed this action for review of the
final decision of the Commissioner for Social Security
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Doc. 1, p. 1)
Magistrate Judge presides over this case pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(c) having received the written consent of
both parties. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 73; (Doc. 14)
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in this case found that Lukens
is not disabled by using the testimony of a vocational
expert. That testimony, however, was not consistent with the
information contained in the Dictionary of Occupational
Titles (DOT), and the ALJ failed to adequately resolve this
inconsistency. Accordingly, this case is remanded for further
March of 2017, Lukens constructively filed an application for
disability insurance benefits pursuant to Title II of the
Social Security Act. (Tr. 20) He alleged disability beginning
on August 5, 2016, due to fibromyalgia, chronic
post-traumatic stress disease (PTSD), Celiac disease, right
knee problem, insomnia, hearing issue (with associated skull
implant), Barrett's syndrome (a disease of the
esophagus), and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). (Tr. 428,
application was denied initially and upon reconsideration.
(Tr. 356-359); (Tr. 362-364) Lukens requested review and
appeared without counsel at a hearing before Administrative
Law Judge (ALJ) Laura Speck Havens on February 1, 2018. (Tr.
297) In her decision, dated February 26, 2018, the ALJ found
Lukens was not disabled because, considering his age,
education, work experience, and residual functional capacity,
he could work as an addresser (DOT # 209.587-010), lens
inserter (DOT # 713.687-026), or gauger (DOT # 712.687-018).
(Tr. 20-34) A gauger sorts medical sutures.
requested review, but on June 4, 2018, the Appeals Council
denied review making the decision of the ALJ the final
decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-4) Lukens subsequently
filed this action seeking review of that final decision.
Work History and Medical History
was 36 years old at the time of the hearing before the ALJ.
(Tr. 299) He has a high school diploma and has attended two
years of college. (Tr. 299)
was a soldier from 2000 to 2005 and from 2006 to 2010. (Tr.
302) He was a machine gunner and a truck driver. Id.
He has a 90 percent disability rating from the VA resulting
from what he calls Gulf War Illness. (Tr. 300)
October of 2017, Lukens was examined by consulting physician
Jeri B. Hassman, M.D., for the disability determination
services. (Tr. 2714) Lukens reported “generalized
aching pain all over his body, ” which is
“especially bad in his upper back and shoulders and low
back and in his feet and ankles. . . .” (Tr. 2715)
Hassman diagnosed “allegation of fibromyalgia . . .
Celiac disease . . . otoscherosis . . . allegation of right
knee problems . . . history of PTSD [post-traumatic stress
disease] . . . [and] allegations of Barrett's syndrome
and GERD [gastroesophogeal reflux disease]. . . .” (Tr.
completed the social security administration form HA-1151-BK,
Medical Source Statement of Ability to do Work-Related
Activities (Physical). (Tr. 2718) She opined that Lukens can
lift or carry up to 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds
occasionally. (Tr. 2718) He can sit or stand for 30 minutes
or walk for 15 minutes at one time. (Tr. 2719) He can sit for
6 hours, stand for 2 hours, or walk for 2 hours in an 8-hour
work day. (Tr. 2719) He is limited to
“occasionally” reaching “overhead” or
in “all other” directions. (Tr. 2720) He is
limited to occasionally pushing or pulling. (Tr. 2720)
hearing before the ALJ, Lukens testified that he lives with
his wife and preschool children. (Tr. 303) He helps his wife
with the household chores to some extent. (Tr. 303) He will
“try” to mop, sweep, and fold clothes. (Tr.
303-304) He cooks once a week and helps with the grocery
shopping. (Tr. 303-304) He eats a limited diet of oatmeal,
rice, beans, and corn tortillas. (Tr. 308) He likes
photography, but he must use a tripod because he cannot hold
the camera. (Tr. 305) He reads nonfiction to distract himself
from his pain. (Tr. 306)
feels a constant stabbing pain throughout his whole body
averaging an 8 out of 10. (Tr. 310) He testified that he can
stand for up to an hour at a time. (Tr. 309) He can walk for
up to 20 minutes. (Tr. 309) He can sit for one hour. (Tr.