United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
ADRIANE B. JACKSON, o/b/o J.J., Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is plaintiff Adriane B. Jackson's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis in this Social Security action
brought on behalf of her minor child, J.J. Jackson
purportedly seeks judicial review of a denial of a claim for
child's benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security
Act. It appears from the record before the Court, based on
this case as well as prior cases filed by Jackson, that she
has failed to exhaust administrative remedies with respect to
the current claim for benefits, thereby depriving this Court
of subject-matter jurisdiction over the case. Further, the
face of Jackson's complaint shows that the case may be
untimely filed. I will therefore order Jackson to demonstrate
that she has exhausted administrative remedies relating to
J.J.'s claim and, further, to show cause why this case
should not be dismissed for failure to timely seek judicial
Jackson, J.J.'s mother, is presently an inmate in the
custody of the St. Louis County Justice Center in Clayton,
Missouri. She filed a similar action in this Court on behalf
of J.J. on May 11, 2016. See Jackson v. Colvin, No.
4:16-CV-0672 CDP (E.D. Mo. 2016). The government filed a
motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction in
that action based on Jackson's failure to exhaust
administrative remedies, but Jackson failed to respond to the
motion. That case was dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 41(b) on November 22, 2016, without
filed the present action on October 16, 2017. In the form
complaint, Jackson, acting pro se, states that she
brings this action on behalf of J.J., seeking review of the
Commissioner's final decision. She states that she
received notice of the Appeals Council decision “2
years ago” and claims that she received the decision of
the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) “one year
History of Claim
Court takes judicial notice of the declaration of Cristina
Prelle, Chief of Court Case Preparation and Review Branch,
executed on July 12, 2016, and filed on behalf of the Office
of Disability Adjudication and Review of the Social Security
Administration in Jackson's earlier case. See Jackson
v. Colvin, No. 4:16-CV-0672 CDP, ECF #14-1 (E.D. Mo.
Aug. 2, 2016). The Prelle declaration with attached exhibits
show that J.J. was found disabled beginning December 1, 2003,
based on an application for Title XVI benefits. On July 6,
2006, the State Agency sent a Notice of Planned Action
stating that it planned to make J.B. Clark, J.J.'s
father, the representative payee.
February 24, 2015, the State Agency sent a Notice of
Disability Cessation to J.J. and his father, after finding
that J.J. was no longer disabled as of February 2015.
J.J.'s father requested reconsideration of the State
Agency determination on March 10, 2015.
18, 2015, the State Agency notified J.J. and his father that
a hearing was scheduled before a Hearing Officer on June 16,
2015. In his written decision, however, the Hearing Officer
noted that the hearing “was not attended.” No.
4:16-CV-0672, ECF #14-6. On June 17, 2015, the State Agency
sent a Notice of Reconsideration to J.J. and his father
informing them that J.J. was no longer eligible for payments
and that he had the right to appeal by requesting a hearing
before an ALJ within 60 days. Prelle states in her
declaration that she examined the claim file and that there
was no indication that an appeal was filed.
11, 2016, Adriane Jackson filed in this Court a
“Complaint for Judicial Review of Decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security” on behalf of J.J.
Jackson v. Colvin, No. 4:16-CV-0672 CDP (E.D. Mo.
2016). The government moved to dismiss that action, arguing
that the claim was unexhausted because Jackson failed to
obtain a final agency decision after hearing, and that
therefore this Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction.
Despite having failed to respond to the government's
motion to dismiss in that case, Jackson filed this action
over a year later. However, there is no indication that
Jackson exhausted administrative remedies on J.J.'s claim
for benefits prior to filing this case. Even so, it appears
from the face of Jackson's complaint that this civil
action seeking judicial review may be untimely filed.
U.S.C. § 405(g) is the exclusive jurisdictional basis
for judicial review in cases arising under the Social
Security Act. In order to obtain review under 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), a Social Security claimant must: 1) receive a
final decision of the Commissioner made after a hearing, 2)
bring a civil action within 60 days after the mailing of the
notice of such final decision, and 3) file the action in the
district court for the district in which she resides or has
her principal place of business. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
Weinberger v. Salfi, 422 U.S. 749, 763-64 (1975).
The second and third of these requirements specify a statute
of limitations and appropriate venue, respectively. The first
requirement is central to the grant of subject-matter
jurisdiction, empowering district courts to review only those
decisions by the Commissioner that are “final”
and “made after a hearing.” Weinberger,
422 U.S. at 764. The Commissioner will have made a
“final decision” only after the claimant
completes certain steps of the administrative process, which
include a hearing before an ALJ and a request for Appeals
Council review of the ALJ's decision. 20 C.F.R. §
complaint for judicial review, filed October 16, 2017,
Jackson claims that she received the decision of the ALJ
“one year ago” and received notice of the Appeals
Council decision “2 years ago.” As of July 12,
2016, however, the Office of Disability Adjudication and
Review had no record that an administrative appeal had been
taken on J.J.'s claim. With no administrative appeal of
record as of July 2016, it is unclear how the Appeals Council
could have rendered a decision in or around October 2015,
that is, two years prior to the commencement of this civil
action, as claimed by Jackson. To the extent Jackson states
that she received the decision of the ALJ one year ago, she
makes no statement regarding any subsequent request for
Appeals Council review of the decision, which is required to
exhaust the administrative process. I therefore question
whether there was a final agency decision made after a
hearing as required for this Court to have subject-matter
jurisdiction over Jackson's claim. Moreover, whether
Jackson received notice from the ALJ one year ago or from the
Appeals Council two years ago, there is no question that over
60 days have passed since her receipt of such notice.
on the record now before the Court, including that in Case
No. 4:16-CV-0672 CDP, I cannot find that this Court has
subject-matter jurisdiction over this civil action because a
question remains as to whether the Commissioner issued a
final decision after a hearing on J.J.'s claim for
benefits. Subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be waived; and
the burden is on Jackson, as the party invoking federal court
jurisdiction, to establish subject-matter jurisdiction. Nor
can I find that this action was timely ...