United States District Court, D. Oregon, Pendleton Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Yim You, United States Magistrate Judge.
R. (“plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of the
final decision by the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying plaintiff's
application for Title II Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) and Title XVI Social Security Income
(“SSI”) under the Social Security Act
(“Act”). This court has jurisdiction to review
the Commissioner's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). The Commissioner's
decision is not supported by substantial evidence; therefore,
it is REVERSED and REMANDED for further proceedings.
filed applications for DIB and SSI on September 2, 2014,
alleging disability beginning June 28, 2011. Tr. 18.
Plaintiff's claim was initially denied on December 5,
2014, and upon reconsideration on February 25, 2015. Tr.
96-97, 131-32. A hearing was held before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”) on March 23, 2017, in which
plaintiff testified, as did a vocational expert
(“VE”). Tr. 41-95. On June 16, 2017, the ALJ
issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled within the
meaning of the Act. Tr. 18-29. After the Appeals Council
denied her request for review, plaintiff filed a complaint in
this court. Tr. 1-6. The ALJ's decision is therefore the
Commissioner's final decision subject to review by this
court. 20 C.F.R. § 422.210.
reviewing court must affirm the Commissioner's decision
if it is based on proper legal standards and the findings are
supported by substantial evidence in the record. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Lewis v. Astrue, 498 F.3d 909, 911
(9th Cir. 2007). This court must weigh the evidence that
supports and detracts from the ALJ's conclusion and
“‘may not affirm simply by isolating a specific
quantum of supporting evidence.'” Garrison v.
Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009-10 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Lingenfelter v. Astrue, 504 F.3d 1028, 1035 (9th
Cir. 2007)). The reviewing court may not substitute its
judgment for that of the Commissioner when the evidence can
reasonably support either affirming or reversing the
decision. Parra v. Astrue, 481 F.3d 742, 746 (9th
Cir. 2007). Instead, where the evidence is susceptible to
more than one rational interpretation, the Commissioner's
decision must be upheld if it is “supported by
inferences reasonably drawn from the record.”
Tommasetti v. Astrue, 533 F.3d 1035, 1038 (9th Cir.
2008) (citation omitted); see also
Lingenfelter, 504 F.3d at 1035.
ANALYSIS AND ALJ FINDINGS
is the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. §
423(d)(1)(A). The ALJ engages in a five-step sequential
inquiry to determine whether a claimant is disabled within
the meaning of the Act. This sequential analysis is set forth
in the Social Security regulations, 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520, 416.920, in Ninth Circuit case law, Lounsburry
v. Barnhart, 468 F.3d 1111, 1114 (9th Cir. 2006)
(discussing Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098-99
(9th Cir. 1999)), and in the ALJ's decision in this case,
one, the ALJ found plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since the alleged onset date. Tr. 20.
two, the ALJ found plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine,
obesity, anxiety disorder, and cannabis abuse disorder. Tr.
three, the ALJ found plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equaled a
listed impairment. Tr. 22. The ALJ next assessed
plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) and determined she could perform light
work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b),
416.967(b), finding she could lift and carry 20 pounds
occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, stand and walk for six
hours of an eight-hour workday, sit for six hours in an
eight-hour workday, occasionally climb stairs, ramps,
ladders, ropes or scaffolding, stoop, kneel, crouch, or
crawl, she must avoid concentrate exposure to vibrations or
hazards, such as moving machinery or unprotected heights, she
must avoid concentrated exposure to lung irritants, such as
fumes, odors, dusts, gases, and/or poor ventilation, she can
have no more than occasional interaction with the public, she
is limited to simple, routine work tasks, she is limited to
the performance of low-stress work, such as no persuasive
communication tasks, no teamwork tasks, no fast-paced or
production-rate tasks, and few changes of work routine or
setting. Tr. 24.
four, the ALJ found plaintiff was not able to perform her
past relevant work as a commercial cleaner or farm laborer.
five the ALJ determined plaintiff could perform jobs that
exist in significant numbers in the national economy,
including inspector and packager, ...