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Davis v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

September 22, 2017

LARRY D. DAVIS, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security; KIM BROACH, Field Office Director of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Catherine M. Salinas' Final Report and Recommendation [15] ("Final R&R) on Defendant Acting Commissioner of Social Security's (the "Commissioner") Motion to Dismiss the Complaint [14].

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         On November 21, 2016, Plaintiff filed his pro se Complaint [3] against Defendant Carolyn Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, and Kim Broach, Field Officer Director for the Social Security Administration. The Plaintiff alleged that the Social Security Administration ("SSA") incorrectly determined Plaintiffs Social Security benefits award and owed him back payments totaling approximately $13, 000. (Compl. at 3).

         On March 20, 2017, Defendant filed the Motion to Dismiss [14], arguing Plaintiffs Complaint lacked subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to the SSA's determination of his Supplemental Security Income application. Defendant also argues the claims against Defendant Broach should be dismissed because she is not a proper defendant in this action. Plaintiff did not oppose the motion.

         On August 16, 2017, Magistrate Judge Salinas issued her Final R&R recommending that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction be granted because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. No objections to the Final R&R were filed.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review on the Magistrate Judge's Final R&R

         After conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject or modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982), cert, denied, 459 U.S. 1112 (1983). Because no objections to the Final R&R have been filed, the Court reviews the R&R for plain error. United States v. Slav, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th Cir. 1983), cert, denied, 464 U.S. 1050 (1984).

         B. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         The Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff did not complete the administrative review process and has not demonstrated that he received a final decision from the Commissioner. ([15] at 7). The SSA made an initial determination that it owed SSI back payments to Plaintiff, and advised Plaintiff of his right to appeal that determination. (Id.). In its notice, the SSA specifically provided Plaintiff with options for appealing and outlined steps for filing a written appeal. (Id.).

         Subject-matter jurisdiction for judicial review of claims under the Social Security Act is limited by 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and (h) and 42 U.S.C. § 1382(c)(1). A court may review only a "final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security" made after a hearing. See Cash v. Barnhart 327 F.3d 1252, 1255, n.5 (11th Cir. 2003). Section 405(g) of the Act bars judicial review except as provided in the Act. Id. The regulations promulgated under the Act require a Social Security claimant to complete each of the four steps in the administrative review process before the claimant may seek judicial review. See Ingram v. Commissioner of Social Sec. Admin., 496 F.3d 1253, 1263-64 (11th Cir. 2007).[2]

         Here, there is no evidence in the record that the Plaintiff requested reconsideration of the SSA's initial determination through the process dictated in the notice or otherwise requested a hearing before an administrative law judge.[3](Id.). The Court thus finds no plain error in the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that Plaintiffs failure to complete the administrative review process ...


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