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Martin v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

March 2, 2018

DAVID F. MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          SUZANNE MITCHELL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Background.

         David F. Martin (Plaintiff), appearing pro se and naming the Commissioner of Social Security as Defendant, complains-in full-as follows:

My complaint is that I do not agree with the decision of the onset date of April 07, 2017 and should be restored to August 25, 2014.

Doc. 1.[1] The signature block includes Plaintiff's address in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Id. Plaintiff also seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Doc. 2.

         The matter has been assigned to the undersigned Magistrate Judge consistent with General Order 16-4. On review of the complaint, the undersigned concludes it is deficient and recommends summary dismissal of the action, without prejudice and with leave granted to amend because it may be possible for Plaintiff to cure the deficiency.

         II. Analysis.

         “Under § 1915(a), a district court ‘may authorize the commencement . . . of any suit [or] action . . . without prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such prisoner possesses, that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.'” Lister v. Dep't of Treasury, 408 F.3d 1309, 1312 (10th Cir. 2005) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)). “Section 1915(a) applies to all persons applying for IFP status, and not just to prisoners.” Id. But, “in order to succeed on a motion to proceed IFP, the movant must show a financial inability to pay the required filing fees, as well as the existence of a reasoned, nonfrivolous argument on the law and facts in support of the issues raised in the action.” Id. So, “[b]ecause [P]laintiff seeks to proceed IFP, the litigation process begins with the court screening his complaint” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Hardaway v. Kansas, No. 11-3059-SAC, 2011 WL 1466467, at *2 (D. Kan. Apr. 18, 2011) (citing Lister, 408 F.3d at 1312).

         Here, Plaintiff's complaint fails to state facts necessary to show that the jurisdictional requirements for review in this Court are satisfied in this case.[2] The Social Security Act permits

[a]ny individual, after any final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security made after a hearing to which he was a party [to] obtain a review of such decision by a civil action commenced within sixty days after the mailing to him of notice of such decision or within such further time as the Commissioner of Social Security may allow. Such action shall be brought in the district court of the United States for the judicial district in which the plaintiff resides . . . .

42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (emphasis added). “Under the Social Security Act, federal district courts have jurisdiction to review “any final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security made after a hearing.” Gibbs v. Colvin, 529 Fed.Appx. 950, 953 (10th Cir. 2013) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (emphasis added in Gibbs)).

         “But the Act does not define “final decision, ” instead leaving it to the [Social Security Administration] to give meaning to that term through regulations.” Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106 (2000). Under the applicable regulations, 20 C.F.R §§ 404.900(a)(5), 416.1400(a)(5), “[a] final decision exists only after a claimant has completed . . . four steps.” Gibbs, 529 Fed.Appx. at 953 (emphasis added). Those steps include: (1) initial determination, (2) reconsideration, (3) a hearing before an ALJ, and (4) a request for review by the Appeals Council. Id. §§ 404.900(a), 416.1400(a); Gibbs, 529 Fed.Appx. at 953. Failure to complete these steps would mean he would “not [be] entitled to judicial review.” Gibbs, 529 Fed.Appx. at 953; see also Sims, 530 U.S. at 107.

         Here, Plaintiff's complaint shows his address in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Doc. 1. The undersigned takes judicial notice that Oklahoma City is located within the territorial jurisdiction of the Western District of Oklahoma, see 28 U.S.C. § 116(c), so Plaintiff has alleged the facts necessary to address one § 405(g) requirement for judicial review by this Court. However, Plaintiff fails to state whether the ALJ has rendered an opinion, and whether he requested Appeals Council review of the ALJ's decision, and the date he received notice of the Appeal Council's decision. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         III. Recommendation and notice ...


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