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England v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Oregon

June 18, 2014

CHRISTOPHER L. ENGLAND, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, [1] Defendant.

ALAN STUART GRAF, Alan Stuart Graf P.C., Floyd, VA, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

S. AMANDA MARSHALL, United States Attorney, ADRIAN L. BROWN, Assistant United States Attorney, Portland, OR, DAVID MORADO, Regional Chief Counsel, NANCY A. MISHALANIE, Special Assistant United States Attorney Social Security Administration, Seattle, WA, Attorneys for Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

ANNA J. BROWN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Christopher L. England seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) dismissing his application for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act. On March 7, 2014, the Commissioner filed a Motion (#13) to Dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. On March 15, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion (#17) to Compel; Stay Proceedings; or Remand Case for Further Proceedings Below.

For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS the Commissioner's Motion and DISMISSES this matter. Plaintiff's Motion, therefore, is MOOT.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On May 2, 2011, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB (initial application), which the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denied initially on August 23, 2011. Decl. Robert Weigel, ¶ 4(a), Ex. 1. Plaintiff did not appeal the initial determination. Id. at ¶ 4(a).

On February 3, 2013, Plaintiff filed another application for DIB (second application), which was denied initially and on reconsideration. Id. at ¶ 4(b), Exs. 2(a), (b). On March 12, 2013, the ALJ dismissed Plaintiff's request for a hearing with respect to the issue of Plaintiff's alleged disability on the basis of res judicata. Id. at ¶ 4(b), Ex. 3. The ALJ also considered Plaintiff's request to reopen his prior application, but the ALJ concluded good cause did not exist for doing so. Id. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.984(d), the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner on June 12, 2013, when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Id. at ¶ 4(b), Ex. 4.

On August 13, 2013, Plaintiff filed this action seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's "final agency decision" denying Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's denial of Plaintiff's application for benefits. Plaintiff alleges he has exhausted his administrative remedies and that this Court has subject-matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

As noted, on March 7, 2014, the Commissioner filed her Motion (#13) to Dismiss and on March 17, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Motion (#17) to to Compel; Stay Proceedings; or Remand Case for Further Proceedings Below.

On April 21, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Reply (#22) to the Commissioner's Motion to Dismiss and to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel; Stay Proceedings; or Remand Case for Further Proceedings Below.[2]

THE COMMISSIONER'S MOTION (#13) TO DISMISS

I. Standards

"Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction." Assoc. of Am. Med. Coll. v. United States, 217 F.3d 770, 778 (9th Cir. 2000)(citation omitted). Courts presume a case "lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction." Id. A motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds can be "either facial or factual." White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214, 1242 (9th Cir. 2000). "In a facial attack, the challenger asserts that the allegations contained in a complaint are insufficient on their face to invoke federal jurisdiction." Safe Air v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). In a factual challenge "a court may look beyond the complaint to matters of public record without having to convert the motion into one for summary judgment.... It also need not presume the truthfulness of the plaintiffs' allegations." White, 227 F.3d at 1242. Under either form of attack, "jurisdictional dismissals are warranted where ...


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