Hedges v. Social Security Administration Commissioner

Filing 19

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Honorable Erin L. Setser on February 10, 2014. (src)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS FAYETTEVILLE DIVISION LEWIS A. HEDGES, JR. v. PLAINTIFF NO. 13-5124 CAROLYN W. COLVIN,1 Commissioner Social Security Administration DEFENDANT MEMORANDUM OPINION Plaintiff, Lewis Hedges, Jr., brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial review of a decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (Commissioner) denying his applications for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. (Doc. 1). The Defendant filed an Answer to Plaintiff's action on November 7, 2013, asserting that the findings of the Commissioner were supported by substantial evidence and were conclusive. (Doc. 10). Plaintiff filed an appeal brief on December 9, 2013. (Doc. 12). On January 15, 2014, the Commissioner, having changed positions, filed a motion requesting that Plaintiff's case be remanded pursuant to "sentence four" of section 405(g) in order to conduct further administrative proceedings. (Doc. 17). The Defendant seeks remand so that the ALJ may further evaluate Plaintiff’s past work and if necessary obtain evidence from a vocational expert; explain the weight given to the opinions of the “other sources;” and to reevaluate whether Plaintiff’s earnings during the relevant time period qualify as substantial 1 Carolyn W. Colvin, has been appointed to serve as acting Commissioner of Social Security, and is substituted as Defendant, pursuant to Rule 25(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. AO72A (Rev. 8/82) gainful activity. The exclusive methods by which a district court may remand a social security case to the Commissioner are set forth in "sentence four" and "sentence six" of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). A remand pursuant to "sentence six" is limited to two situations: where the Commissioner requests a remand before answering the complaint, or where the court orders the Commissioner to consider new, material evidence that was for good cause not presented before the agency. The Fourth sentence of the statute provides that "[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." 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292, 296, 113 S.Ct. 2625 (1993). Here, the Court finds remand for the purpose of the ALJ to further evaluate the evidence as addressed above appropriate. Based on the foregoing, the Court finds remand appropriate and grants the Commissioner's motion to remand this case to the Commissioner for further administrative action pursuant to "sentence four" of section 405(g). DATED this 10th day of February, 2014. /s/ Erin L. Setser HON. ERIN L. SETSER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE -2- AO72A (Rev. 8/82)

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