United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
MUSTAFA T. KASUBHAI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Steve Edward L. brings this action for judicial review of the
Commissioner of Social Security's
(“Commissioner”) decision denying him application
for Disability Insurance Benefits under the Social Security
Act (the “Act”). This Court has jurisdiction
under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c).
reasons discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the
Commissioner's final decision.
applied for Disability Insurance Benefits on January 26,
2016, alleging disability beginning June 30, 2015. Tr.
His claims were initially denied, and Plaintiff timely
requested and appeared for a hearing before Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”) Jo Hoenninger on November 28,
2017. Id. The ALJ denied Plaintiff's application
in a written decision dated January 31, 2018. Tr. 17-27.
Plaintiff sought review of the ALJ's decision with the
Appeals Council. Tr. 1-3. The Appeals Council denied review
of the ALJ's decision, rendering the ALJ's decision
the final decision of the Commissioner. Id.
Plaintiff now seeks judicial review of the Commissioner's
engages in a five-step sequential inquiry to determine
whether a claimant is disabled within the meaning of the Act.
20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a). The five-step sequential inquiry
is summarized below, and as described in Tackett v.
Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098-99 (9th Cir. 1999).
One: The Commissioner determines whether the claimant is
engaged in substantial gainful activity. A claimant who is
engaged in such activity is not disabled. If the claimant is
not engaged in substantial gainful activity, the Commissioner
proceeds to evaluate the claimant's case under step two.
20 C.F.R. § 416.920(b).
Two: The Commissioner determines whether the claimant
has one or more severe impairments. A claimant who does not
have any such impairment is not disabled. If the claimant has
one or more severe impairment(s), the Commissioner proceeds
to evaluate the claimant's case under step three. 20
C.F.R. § 416.920(c).
Three: Disability cannot be based solely on a severe
impairment; therefore, the Commissioner next determines
whether the claimant's impairment “meets or
equals” one of the presumptively disabling impairments
listed in the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) regulations, 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1. A claimant who has an impairment that meets a
listing is presumed disabled under the Act. If the
claimant's impairments are not equivalent to one of the
enumerated impairments, between the third and fourth steps
the ALJ is required to assess the claimant's residual
functional capacity (“RFC”), based on all the
relevant medical and other evidence in the claimant's
record. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(e). The RFC is
an estimate of the claimant's capacity to perform
sustained, work-related physical and/or mental activities on
a regular and continuing basis, despite limitations imposed
by the claimant's impairments. See 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.945; see also SSR 96-8p, 1996 WL 374184.
Four: The Commissioner determines whether the claimant
is able to perform work he or she has done in the past. A
claimant who can perform past relevant work is not disabled.
If the claimant demonstrates he or she cannot do past
relevant work, the Commissioner's evaluation of
claimant's case proceeds under step five. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 416.920(e), 416.920(f).
Five: The Commissioner determines whether the claimant
is able to do any other work. A claimant who cannot perform
other work is disabled. If the Commissioner finds claimant is
able to do other work, the Commissioner must show that a
significant number of jobs exist in the national economy that
claimant is able to do. The Commissioner may satisfy this
burden through the testimony of a vocational expert
(“VE”), or by reference to the Medical-Vocational
Guidelines, 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2. If the
Commissioner demonstrates that a significant number of jobs
exist in the national economy that the claimant is able to
perform, the claimant is not disabled. If the Commissioner
does not meet the burden, the claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R.
steps one through four of the sequential inquiry, the burden
of proof is on the claimant. Tackett, 180 F.3d at
1098. If the claimant satisfies his burden with respect to
the first four steps, the burden then shifts to the
Commissioner regarding step five. 20 C.F.R. §
416.920(g). At step five, the Commissioner's burden is to
demonstrate that the claimant can make an adjustment to other
work after considering the claimant's RFC, age,
education, and work experience. Id.
present case, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled.
Tr. 27. At step one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since the onset date
of November 24, 2015. Tr. 19. At step two, the ALJ found
Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
“chronic pancreatitis and diabetes mellitus.” Tr.
20. At step three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have
an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
equaled the requirements of a listed impairment in 20 CFR
Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (“Listings”). Tr.
21. Prior to step four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff
retained an RFC that allowed him to perform medium work,
“except [that] he can frequently climb ramps and stairs
and occasionally climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds, stoop,
kneel, crouch and crawl.” Tr. 21. At step four, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff is capable of performing past relevant
work as a School Bus Driver and Building Maintenance Worker.
seeks review by this Court contending that (1) the ALJ
improperly rejected Plaintiff's subjective complaints;
and (2) an improper and unconstitutionally appointed ALJ
adjudicated his case. Pl.'s Br. 1, ECF No. 14.
OF REVIEW OF ALJ DECISIONS
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. Hammock
v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th Cir. 1989). Substantial
evidence is “more than a mere scintilla; it means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.” Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (citation and internal
quotations omitted); Andrews v. Shalala, 53 F.3d
1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 1995) (citing Magallanes v.
Bowen,881 F.2d 747, 750 (9th Cir. 1989). “The
court must consider both evidence that supports and evidence
that detracts from the ALJ's conclusion; it may not
affirm simply by isolating a specific quantum of supporting
evidence.” Jones v. Heckler, 760 F.2d 993, 995
(9th Cir. 1985) (citing Vidal v. Harris, 637 F.2d
710, 712 (9th Cir. 1981); Day v. Weinberger, 522