United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Aiken United States District Judge.
Ryan E. Hottman brings this action pursuant to the Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to obtain judicial
review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security ("Commissioner"). The Commissioner denied
plaintiffs application for Supplemental Security Income
("SSI"). For the reasons set forth below, the
Commissioner's decision is affirmed.
27, 2012, plaintiff applied for SSI. He alleged disability
beginning October 21, 1980, due to cerebral palsy, double
vision, and brain damage. Plaintiffs application was denied
initially and upon reconsideration. On January 30, 2015,
plaintiff appeared at a hearing before an ALJ. At the
hearing, plaintiff and a vocational expert ("VE")
testified. The ALJ found plaintiff not disabled in a written
decision issued February 26, 2015. After the Appeals Council
denied review, plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court.
district court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if
it is based upon proper legal standards and the findings are
supported by substantial evidence in the record. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Berry v. Astrue, 622 F.3d 1228, 1231
(9th Cir. 2010). "Substantial evidence is more than a
mere scintilla but less than a preponderance; it is such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." Gutierrez v.
Comm'r Soc. Sec, 740 F.3d 519, 522 (9th Cir. 2014)
(internal quotation marks omitted). The court must weigh
"both the evidence that supports and the evidence that
detracts from the ALJ's conclusion." Mayes v.
Massanari, 276 F.3d 453, 459 (9th Cir. 2001). If the
evidence is subject to more than one interpretation but the
Commissioner's decision is rational, the Commissioner
must be affirmed, because "the court may not substitute
its judgment for that of the Commissioner." Edlund
v. Massanari, 253 F.3d 1152, 1156 (9th Cir. 2001).
initial burden of proof rests upon the plaintiff to establish
disability. Howard v. Heckler, 782 F.2d 1484, 1486
(9th Cir. 1986). To meet this burden, the plaintiff must
demonstrate an "inability to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which can be expected ... to
last for a continuous period of not less than 12
months[.]" 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process
for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowen v.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R. §
416.920(a)(4). At step one, the ALJ found plaintiff had not
engaged in "substantial gainful activity" since the
application date. 20 C.F.R. §§ 416.920(a)(4)(i),
(b). At step two, the ALJ found plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: "cerebral palsy, attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder, cognitive disorder, math disorder,
and anxiety disorder[.]" Tr. 22; see 20 C.F.R.
§§ §§ 416.920(a)(4)(h), (c). At step
three, the ALJ determined plaintiffs impairments, whether
considered singly or in combination, did not meet or equal
one of the "listed impairments" that the
Commissioner acknowledges are so severe as to preclude
substantial gainful activity. 20 C.F.R. §§
§§ 416.920(a)(4)(iii), (d).
then assessed plaintiffs residual functional capacity
("RFC"). 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(e). In addition
to other limitations not relevant to this appeal, the ALJ
is limited to performing simple, routine, repetitive tasks
consistent with unskilled work; he is limited to low stress
work which is defined as work requiring few decisions and few
changes; he can have occasional superficial contact with the
public and co-workers; and he can perform at a standards or
ordinary pace but not at a strict productions rate pace.
Tr. 25. At step four, the ALJ concluded plaintiff had no past
relevant work. 20 C.F.R, §§ 416.920(a)(4)(iv), (f).
At step five, the ALJ found plaintiff could perform work
existing in the national economy; specifically, plaintiff
could work as a small products assembler, a silver wrapper,
or a price marker. 20 C.F.R. §§ 416.920(a)(4)(v),
(g)(1). Accordingly, the ALJ found plaintiff not disabled and
denied his application for benefits.
contends the ALJ committed harmful error by not accounting
for certain accommodations recommended by examining
psychologist Dr. LeBray and the Office of Vocational
Rehabilitation Services ("VRS") ...