Fleming v. Social Security Administration Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Honorable Barry A. Bryant on April 10, 2014. (rw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
FORT SMITH DIVISION
TIMOTHY S. FLEMING
Civil No. 2:13-cv-02120
CAROLYN W. COLVIN
Commissioner, Social Security Administration
Before the Court is Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 15. With this Motion,
Defendant requests the Court dismiss Plaintiff’s case as moot because Plaintiff has been adjudicated
to be disabled based upon another application he filed. Id. On March 28, 2014, Plaintiff responded
to this Motion. ECF No. 16. In this response, Plaintiff does not object to this dismissal as long as
the Court “stipulate[s] [in its Order] that Plaintiff ultimately prevailed and also provide[s] that
Plaintiff is not prejudiced to filing thereafter for attorney’s fees” under the Equal Access to Justice
Act (“EAJA”). Id.
The Parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge to conduct any and all
proceedings in this case, including conducting the trial, ordering the entry of a final judgment, and
conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF No. 7. Pursuant to this authority, this Court enters
this Memorandum Opinion.
On February 2, 2009, Plaintiff filed his first set of disability applications. Those applications
were denied. After Plaintiff sought administrative review, he appealed to this Court. On January
The “Background” is taken from the docket and the briefing in this matter.
12, 2012, Plaintiff’s case– reviewing his first applications for disability– was reversed and remanded
for further administrative review. See Fleming v. Astrue, Civ. No. 11-2155 (W.D. Ark. 2012).
In the interim, in 2010, Plaintiff filed a second set of disability applications. On December
28, 2011, those applications were denied by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). Plaintiff then
appealed that denial to this Court. The second set of applications are now before this Court as a part
of the present appeal. The present appeal was filed on May 3, 2013. ECF No. 1.
After the 2012 remand, Plaintiff’s first set of disability applications began proceeding again
through administrative review. Then, on February 21, 2014, the ALJ issued a fully favorable
decision as to Plaintiff’s first and second set of applications. Notably, the ALJ stated this fully
favorable decision “applies to both claims.” Because this decision applies to both sets of Plaintiff’s
disability applications, Defendant seeks to dismiss this action because Plaintiff’s case is now moot.
ECF No. 16.
Federal courts are granted jurisdiction pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution
for actual cases and controversies. U.S. Const., art. III, § 2. See Lewis v. Cont’l Bank Corp., 494
U.S. 472, 477 (1990) (holding under Article III of the United States Constitution, federal courts may
adjudicate only actual, ongoing cases or controversies). Further, simply because a genuine fact
dispute existed at the time the complaint was filed is not sufficient to sustain jurisdiction if the
dispute resolves itself after the complaint is filed. Id. at 477-8.
Defendant claims this case should be denied as moot. ECF No. 15. Plaintiff does not object
to this dismissal but does request the Court “stipulate that Plaintiff ultimately prevailed and also
provide that Plaintiff is not prejudiced to filing thereafter for attorney’s fees” under EAJA. ECF No.
16. Notably, under EAJA, a “prevailing party” is entitled to “fees and other expenses.” 28 U.S.C
Based on the foregoing, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 15)
and dismisses Plaintiff’s case as moot.
Further, because this case only became moot after the SSA made a fully favorable decision
nearly a year after this case was filed and after Plaintiff prepared the entire appeal in this matter
(including the briefing), the Court also finds Plaintiff is the “prevailing party” and is entitled to an
award of attorney’s fees and other expenses under EAJA.
ENTERED this 10th day of April 2014.
/s/ Barry A. Bryant
HON. BARRY A. BRYANT
U. S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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