Champion v. Colvin
ORDER granting 16 Motion to Remand to Agency; the Commissioner's final decision denying plaintiff DIB and SSI benefits is REVERSED and REMANDED for a rehearing. Signed by Magistrate Judge Katherine P. Nelson on 4/10/2015. (srr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security,
Civil Action No. 14-00464-N
Social Security Claimant/Plaintiff Otis Champion (“Champion”) has brought
this action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) seeking judicial review of a final
decision of the Defendant Commissioner of Social Security (“the Commissioner”),
dated September 17, 2014, denying his applications for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-433, and
supplemental security income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42
U.S.C. §§ 1381-1383c.1
By the consent of the parties (see Doc. 17), the Court has
designated the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all
proceedings and order the entry of judgment in this civil action under 28 U.S.C. §
636(c) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73. (See Doc. 18).
The record reflects that Champion resides in this judicial district. Thus, venue is proper
in this Court. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 1383(c)(3) (“The final determination of the Commissioner of
Social Security after a hearing [on a claim for supplemental security income] shall be subject
to judicial review as provided in section 405(g) of this title to the same extent as the
Commissioner's final determinations under section 405 of this title.”) and 405(g) (“Such
action shall be brought in the district court of the United States for the judicial district in
which the plaintiff resides, or has his principal place of business…”).
After Champion filed and served his Brief (Doc. 15) and Fact Sheet (Doc. 14)
listing the specific errors upon which he sought reversal of the Commissioner's
decision, the Commissioner filed a motion to remand Champion’s case under
sentence four of § 405(g) (“The [district ]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.”),2 representing that Champion does not oppose the motion.
Upon consideration, it is ORDERED that the Commissioner’s unopposed
motion to remand (Doc. 16) is GRANTED.
The Commissioner’s September 17,
2014 final decision denying Champion DIB and SSI benefits is REVERSED, and
this cause is REMANDED for a rehearing. Securing remand pursuant to sentence
four of § 405(g) makes Champion a prevailing party for purposes of the Equal Access
to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412, see Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292 (1993), and
terminates this Court’s jurisdiction over this cause.
Final judgment in accordance
with this Order and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58 shall issue by separate
See also 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3) (“The final determination of the Commissioner of Social
Security after a hearing [for SSI benefits] shall be subject to judicial review as provided in
section 405(g) of this title to the same extent as the Commissioner's final determinations
under section 405 of this title.”).
Sentence six of § 405(g) provides that “[t]he 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…” However, the Commissioner filed her
answer (Doc. 12) prior to requesting remand, and her motion does not set forth “good cause,”
other than that Champion does not oppose remand.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(2)(B), the Court grants
Champion’s attorney an extension of time in which to file a petition for authorization
of attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) until thirty days after receipt of a notice of
award of benefits from the Social Security Administration. See Bergen v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 454 F.3d 1273, 1277 (11th Cir. 2006) (per curiam) (“Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2)
applies to a § 406(b) attorney's fee claim.”); Blitch v. Astrue, 261 F. App'x 241, 242
n.1 (11th Cir. 2008) (per curiam) (unpublished) (“In Bergen v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
454 F.3d 1273 (11th Cir. 2006), we suggested the best practice for avoiding confusion
about the integration of Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2)(B) into the procedural framework of
a fee award under 42 U.S.C. § 406 is for a plaintiff to request and the district court to
include in the remand judgment a statement that attorneys fees may be applied for
within a specified time after the determination of the plaintiff's past due benefits by
the Commission. 454 F.3d at 1278 n.2.”).
DONE and ORDERED this the 10th day of April 2015.
/s/ Katherine P. Nelson
KATHERINE P. NELSON
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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