Thursday, January 30, 2020

admin. law - federal ALJs - appointments clause - ED Pa. case

Sanchez v. Commissioner – ED Pa. – January 29, 2020

Ana Luz Sanchez (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“the Commissioner”) denying her claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act.

In her request for review, Plaintiff raises four claims, one which is premised on Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission, 138 S. Ct. 2044 (2018), that the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) who decided her case was not appointed in compliance with the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.....The Defendant argues that Plaintiff forfeited this claim by not challenging the ALJ’s appointment in the agency proceeding....

After careful review and following the Third Circuit decision on January 23, 2020 in Cirko v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec. and Bizarre v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., ___ F.3d ___, 2020 WL 370832 (3d Cir. Jan. 23, 2020), and for the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that the ALJ was improperly appointed under the Constitution and Plaintiff did not forfeit her Appointments Clause claim. Therefore, Plaintiff’s request for review is granted, and this matter will be remanded to the Commissioner for further proceedings in accordance with the following memorandum.