and Submitted July 11, 2017 Portland, Oregon.
from the United States District Court, No. 3:13-cv-01319-AC
for the District of Oregon Marco A. Hernandez, District
R. Young (argued) and Merrill Schneider, Schneider Kerr &
Gibney Law Offices, Portland, Oregon, for
Dylan Goddard (argued), Assistant Regional Counsel; David
Morado, Regional Chief Counsel, Seattle Region X; Office of
the General Counsel, Social Security Administration, Seattle,
Washington; Ronald K. Silver, Assistant United States
Attorney; United States Attorney's Office, Seattle,
Washington; for Defendant-Appellee.
Before: Marsha S. Berzon, Paul J. Watford, and John B. Owens,
panel reversed the district court's judgment affirming
the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of a
claimant's application for disability insurance benefits
under Title II of the Social Security Act.
vocational expert opined that claimant, who had left hand
manipulative limitations, could still work as an office
helper, mail clerk, or parking lot cashier; and the
administrative law judge ("ALJ") found that
claimant was not disabled.
panel held that the ALJ failed to reconcile an apparent
conflict between the testimony of the vocational expert and
the Department of Labor's Dictionary of Occupational
Titles ("DOT"). Specifically, the panel held
that it could not say that, based on common experience, it
was likely and foreseeable that an office helper, mail clerk,
or parking lot cashier with limitations on his ability to
"handle, finger and feel with the left hand" could
perform his duties. The panel noted that the DOT's
lengthy descriptions for the jobs strongly suggested that
using both hands would be necessary to perform the tasks.
Absent anything in the record to explain the apparent
discrepancy, the panel reversed and remanded so that the ALJ
could ask the vocational expert to reconcile the jobs with
claimant's left hand limitations. The panel further held
that the ALJ's failure to inquire was not harmless.
Lamear appeals from the district court's judgment
affirming the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of
his application for disability insurance benefits under Title
II of the Social Security Act. We agree with Lamear that the
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") failed to
reconcile an apparent conflict between the testimony of the
vocational expert and the Department of Labor's
Dictionary of Occupational Titles ("DOT"),
so we reverse and remand.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
applied for disability insurance benefits due to back and
neck problems, which also impacted his left hand and arm. At
a hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Lamear, who was
represented by counsel, and a vocational expert
("VE"). The VE opined that an individual with
Lamear's limitations, which included being able only
"occasionally" to handle, finger, and reach
overhead with his left, non-dominant hand and arm, but with
no limitations on his right side, could not perform
Lamear's past relevant work as a cashier, bartender, ...