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Jackson v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

February 7, 2018

ADRIANE B. JACKSON, O/B/O J.J., Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CATHERINE D. PERRY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Jackson’s response to the order to show cause.[1]Having carefully reviewed Jackson’s response, the Court concludes that her arguments are without merit. Jackson has failed to exhaust her administrative remedies and therefore this Court lacks jurisdiction over this Social Security appeal. The case will be dismissed. See Fed.R.Civ.P.12(h)(3).

         Background

         Plaintiff Jackson, J.J.’s mother, is presently an inmate in the custody of the St. Louis County Justice Center in Clayton, Missouri. On October 16, 2017, in a form complaint and acting pro se, Jackson alleged that she was filing a social security action for benefits on behalf of J.J., seeking review of the Commissioner’s final decision. She asserted that she had 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 ago.” Jackson had 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 prejudice.

         In light of the aforementioned, the Court ordered Jackson to show cause why the present action should not be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies prior to bringing J.J.’s claims to this Court.[2]

         Discussion

         42 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. § 416.1400(a).

         In this 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.” In the response to the Order to Show Cause, Jackson states:

I notified about 2 week ago for child’s claim J.J. for not dismissing the case. I’m not sure if you notified me back. I wrote 2 case numbers followed while reviewing the facts of an untimely manner. Anyways I probably wrote the first number from one year ago so please allow that letter which I think you did respond. Don’t have any of mail from a week ago.

         In her response, Jackson has not articulated when she claims to have received notice of an administrative appeal record. Nor has Jackson provided information that she made a subsequent request for Appeals Council review, which is required for this Court to have subject matter jurisdiction over Jackson’s claim.

         It is clear that as of July 12, 2016, the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review had no record that an administrative appeal had been taken on J.J.’s claim. And, as noted in the Court’s November 16, 2017 Memorandum and Order, 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 before the commencement of this civil action, as claimed by Jackson. 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 alleged receipt of such notice.

         Therefore, on the record now before the Court, including that in Case No. 4:16-CV-0672 CDP, I find that this Court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction over this civil action because Jackson has not properly alleged and shown that J.J.’s administrative remedies were properly exhausted and that the Commissioner issued a final decision after a hearing on J.J.’s claim for benefits.

         Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this matter is DISMISSED, without prejudice, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(h)(3).

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that an appeal of this action would ...


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