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Scott v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

March 27, 2019

PRECIOUS SHAVON SCOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND AMENDED REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE THAT MOTION TO REMAND BE DENIED AND OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS

          FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Background

         On September 20, 2018, pro se[1] plaintiff Precious ShaVon Scott (“Scott”), filed a complaint in this Court seeking “to obtain judicial review and/or to have this matter reassigned to the West Virginia Administrative Law Judge [] for reconsideration of the final decision by the Commissioner of Social Security [] in the state of Louisiana.” ECF No. 1-1 at 1. In addition, plaintiff Scott filed a motion to remand, in which she reiterated the claims made in her initial complaint. ECF No. 7. Plaintiff Scott then filed a motion and memorandum to “amend her motion for remand, ” or what is also referred to as plaintiff's motion to amend complaint. ECF No. 26.

         On February 12, 2019, this Court entered a memorandum opinion and order denying plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint. In that memorandum opinion and order, this Court first found that plaintiff Scott improperly sought to supplement the administrative record. ECF No. 34 at 3. Specifically, 20 C.F.R. § 404.970 (2017) governs the circumstances under which the Appeals Council is to review a decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). This provision states:

         (a) The Appeals Council will review a case if -

         (1) There appears to be an abuse of discretion by the administrative law judge;

         (2) There is an error of law;

         (3) The action, findings or conclusions of the administrative law judge are not supported by substantial evidence;

         (4) There is a broad policy or procedural issue that may affect the general public interest; or

         (5) Subject to paragraph (b) of this section, the Appeals Council received additional evidence that is new, material, and relates to the period on or before the date of the hearing decision, and there is a reasonable probability that the additional evidence would change the outcome of the decision.

20 C.F.R. § 404.970.

         Moreover, this Court cited 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) which states in pertinent part:

The court may, on motion of the Commissioner of Social Security made for good cause shown before the Commissioner files the Commissioner's answer, remand the case to the Commissioner of Social Security for further action by the Commissioner of Social Security, and it may at any time order additional evidence to be taken before the Commissioner of Social Security, but only upon a showing that there is new evidence which is material and that there is good cause for the failure to incorporate such evidence into the record in a prior proceeding; and the Commissioner of Social Security shall, after the case is remanded, and after hearing such additional evidence if so ordered, modify or affirm the Commissioner's findings of fact or the Commissioner's decision, or both, and shall file with the court any such additional and modified findings of fact and decision, and, in any case in which the Commissioner has not made a decision fully favorable to the individual, a transcript of the additional record and testimony upon which the Commissioner's action in modifying or affirming was based. Such additional or modified findings of fact and decision shall be reviewable only to the extent provided for review of the original findings of fact and decision.

         This Court found that plaintiff Scott requested documents that were not in the administrative record, and that plaintiff Scott did not demonstrate good cause to supplement the record, assuming such records exist. ECF No. 34 at 5. This Court also found that plaintiff bears the ...


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