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Greer v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville

September 30, 2019

JOHN P. GREER, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          Lee, Magistrate Judge.

          ORDER

          HARRY S. MATTICE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On September 28, 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17, former United States Magistrate Judge Clifton L. Corker[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1" id= "FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1]filed his Report and Recommendation (Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and the standing order of the Court, SO-09-01');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, referring all complaints for judicial review of denial of Social Security benefits to the assigned magistrate judge for disposition of all pretrial motions and for reports and recommendations on all dispositive motions.

         Judge Corker recommends that Plaintiff’s Motions for Default Judgment (Docs. 9 & 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1) be denied and Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 7) be granted. Plaintiff timely objected to certain aspects of the Report and Recommendation. The Court has reviewed the Report and Recommendation, as well as the record, and it agrees with Judge Corker’s well-reasoned conclusions.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The Report and Recommendation summarizes the facts of the case as follows:

In 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, the Commissioner denied Plaintiff Social Security Disability Income (“SSDI”) benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act (“SSA”). The Court will refer to this as Plaintiff’s “201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 claim.” Her denial of Plaintiff’s 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 claim was upheld by the Appeals Council in 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13 [Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-2, p. 29]. Plaintiff appealed that denial to this Court, which affirmed the decision finding him not disabled. See Greer v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 2:1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13-cv-001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">158, 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14 WL 4095251');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 (E.D. Tenn. Aug. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">19, 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14).
In 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16, Plaintiff applied for and was awarded Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits under Title XVI of the SSA [Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-2, pp. 25-36]. During the course of this application, he requested the Commissioner to consider evidence pertaining to his 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 claim. The Commissioner refused to reopen the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 claim. Notwithstanding that, the Commissioner found Plaintiff disabled and awarded him benefits under Title XVI.
On February 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13, 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17, Plaintiff filed this complaint, challenging the Commissioner’s decision not to reopen his 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 claim. Plaintiff alleges in his complaint that “[t]he SSA refused to consider new and substantial evidence supporting a Title II SSDI claim for social security benefits (CFR 404.989) that would have changed the outcome of the claim.” [Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, p.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1]. He filed with his complaint a three page type written letter.
In this letter, Plaintiff first claims that he provided two items of new evidence he believes support his 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 claim that had not been reviewed by the ALJ [Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, p. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1]. Plaintiff sought to present this material regarding his 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 claim at his 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 SSI hearing and asserts he was told that the SSDI evidence “must be reviewed before the hearing officer can move on to SSI as the payment source for benefits. (Rule #404.989 CFR).” [Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, p. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1]. Plaintiff next asserts that his 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 hearing was postponed to permit a psychological consultation examination. He then alleges the following:
Yet, during the hearing I was informed by my then attorney, that the ALJ wasn’t going to consider the psychological in my case at all. She proceeded to tell my father that his IQ was below normal functioning level and that the psychologist recommended that my father may not be left alone at home. Apparently, the evaluation also identified that the condition that my father suffers from has been there for many years. Certainly, before the first Social Security benefits hearing in 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1. We don’t have a copy of that psychological evaluation, so I am unable to submit it at this time. It was ordered and performed by disability services.
[Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, p. 2]. Plaintiff’s third claim is that the “ALJ … absolutely refused to reopen the previous claim for Title II SSDI benefits” when the Plaintiff tried to submit evidence supporting the prior SSDI claim. [Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, p. 2]. Plaintiff specifically asserts he attempted to show the transcript of the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 hearing and a cardiology report applicable to the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 claim, and the ALJ refused to accept or review it. [Id.]
Finally, Plaintiff states he “appealed [to the Appeals Council] the fact that the [ALJ] of July 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 had refused to reopen my claim for SSDI benefits, even though there was new evidence submitted that supported claim.” [Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, p. 3]. The Appeals Council denied relief and Plaintiff alleges it did not address his complaints [as set forth in Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-2, pp. 40-45], all of which focused on the ALJ’s refusal to reopen the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 claim in his 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 hearing regarding his new and unrelated SSI application. While his appeal is from this successful 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 claim, he does not challenge the Commissioner’s award of SSI benefits.
In lieu of an answer, the Commissioner moved to dismiss the Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for the failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12(b)(1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1) and (6) [Doc. 7]. Plaintiff moved for a default judgment claiming that the Commissioner failed to answer, although the primary focus of the motion is a response to the ...

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