United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division
A. Eifert United States Magistrate Judge
an action seeking review of the decision of the Commissioner
of the Social Security Administration (hereinafter the
“Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff's
applications for a period of disability and disability
insurance benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental
security income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI
of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-433,
1381-1383f. The case is presently before the court on the
Commissioner's Uncontested Motion for Remand. (ECF No.
11). Both parties have consented in writing to a decision by
the United States Magistrate Judge. (ECF No. 10). The court
has fully considered the Motion for Remand and
GRANTS same. Accordingly, the court finds
that the decision of the Commissioner should be
REVERSED and REMANDED,
pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), for
further evaluation of Plaintiff's application as stated
Lawrence Bradford Vaughan (“Claimant”), completed
applications for DIB and SSI on November 29, 2010 and
December 3, 2010, respectively, alleging a disability onset
date of November 7, 2010, (Tr. at 136, 138). The Social
Security Administration (“SSA”) denied the
applications initially and upon reconsideration. (Tr. at 35).
Claimant filed a request for a hearing, which was held on
December 13, 2012 before the Honorable Jerry Meade,
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Tr. at 9-26).
By written decision dated December 27, 2012, the ALJ
determined that Claimant was not entitled to benefits. (Tr.
at 35-50). The ALJ's decision became the final decision
of the Commissioner on May 12, 2014, when the Appeals Council
denied Claimant's request for review. (Tr. at 1-4).
23, 2014, Claimant filed a civil action seeking judicial
review of the administrative decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). By Judgment Order entered on September 30,
2015, the Court remanded the matter pursuant to the fourth
sentence of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further
administrative proceedings. (Tr. at 1268-83). The Appeals
Counsel vacated the first decision, and on remand, a hearing
was held on October 25, 2017. (Tr. at 1213, 1284-86). By
written decision dated January 12, 2018, the ALJ denied
Plaintiff's claim. (Tr. at 1213). The ALJ's decision
became the final decision of the Commissioner on June 19,
2019, when the Appeals Council denied Claimant's request
for review. (Tr. at 1203-6).
11, 2019, Claimant timely filed the present civil action
seeking judicial review of the administrative decision
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (ECF No. 2). The
Commissioner filed an Answer and a Transcript of the
Proceedings on September 11, 2019. (ECF Nos. 7, 8). On
October 10, 2019, Claimant filed a Brief in Support of a
Motion for Judgment of the Pleadings. (ECF No. 9).
Thereafter, on November 7, 2019, the Commissioner filed an
uncontested motion for remand, indicating that the ALJ's
decision denying benefits merited further evaluation,
including an opportunity for a hearing and to take any
further action needed to complete the administrative record.
(ECF No. 11). According to the Commissioner, Claimant
concurred that further proceedings would be beneficial.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) authorizes the district court to
remand the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
for further consideration at different stages of the judicial
proceedings. When the Commissioner requests remand prior to
filing an answer to the plaintiff's complaint, the
presiding court may grant the request under sentence six of
§ 405(g), upon a showing of good cause. In addition, a
court may remand the matter “at any time” under
sentence six to allow “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.” 42
U.S.C. § 405(g). When a court remands the
Commissioner's decision under sentence six, the court
retains jurisdiction over the matter, but “closes it
and regards it as inactive” until additional or
modified findings are supplied to the court. See McPeak
v. Barnhart, 388 F.Supp.2d 742, 745 n.2. (S.D. W.Va.
contrast, under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g),
“[t]he court shall have power to enter, upon the
pleadings and transcript of the record, a judgment affirming,
modifying, or reversing the decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security, with or without remanding the cause for a
rehearing.” Because a sentence four remand essentially
“terminates the litigation with victory for the
plaintiff, ” the court enters a final judgment
dismissing the case and removing it from the court's
docket. Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292, 299
(1993) (“Under § 405(g), ‘each final
decision of the Secretary [is] reviewable by a
separate piece of litigation, ” and a
sentence-four remand order ‘terminate[s] the
civil action' seeking judicial review of the
Secretary's final decision.”) (quoting in
Sullivan v. Hudson, 490 U.S. 877, 892 (1989).
that the Commissioner explicitly asks for a sentence four
remand,  the court REVERSES
the final decision of the Commissioner;
GRANTS the motion to remand, (ECF No. 11);
REMANDS this matter pursuant to sentence
four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further administrative
proceedings consistent with this opinion; and
DISMISSES this action from the docket of the
Court. A Judgment Order will be entered accordingly.
Clerk of this Court is directed to transmit copies of this
Memorandum Opinion to counsel of record.
Furthermore, this case does not
present either of the factual scenarios that would typically
support a sentence six remand. The Commissioner's motion
was not made until after the answer was filed, and
neither party has, at this time, offered new ...