Edwards v. Jonas et al

Filing 23

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS AND VACATING HEARING by Hon. William Alsup granting 22 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction.(whalc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/10/2014) (Additional attachment(s) added on 4/10/2014: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (dt, COURT STAFF).

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 MARK THOMAS EDWARDS, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 Plaintiff, No. C 13-04788 WHA v. PATRICIA JONAS, et al. 14 ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS AND VACATING HEARING Defendants. / 15 16 In this social security appeal, defendant moves to dismiss because pro se plaintiff Mark 17 Edwards has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, depriving the district court of subject- 18 matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff has not filed an opposition.1 19 The Social Security Act permits claimants to challenge a denial of social security benefits 20 after a “final decision” is rendered by the Commissioner. 42 U.S.C. 405(g). A decision is final 21 only after plaintiff presents the claim to the Commissioner and exhausts his administrative 22 remedies. Johnson v. Shalala, 2 F.3d 918, 921 (9th Cir. 1993). The Social Security regulations 23 provide the following administrative appeals process: (1) an initial determination; (2) 24 reconsideration of the initial determination; (3) a hearing before an administrative law judge; and 25 (4) review of the administrative law judge's decision by an Appeals Council. 20 C.F.R. 26 404.900(a)(1)-(4). The regulations also state: “[w]hen you have completed the steps of the 27 28 1 Plaintiff has filed his complaint against various regional officers of the Social Security Administration (Dkt. No. 1). The proper defendant in a social security appeal, however, is the Commissioner of Social Security. 42 U.S.C. 405(g) and 902. Thus, this order will construe plaintiff’s appeal accordingly. 1 administrative review process listed in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(4) of this subsection, we 2 will have made our final decision. If you are dissatisfied with our final decision, you may 3 request judicial review by filing an action in a Federal district court [within 60 sixty days of 4 receiving notice of the decision].” Id. at 404.900(a)(5); 42 U.S.C. 405(g).2 5 Here, plaintiff did not exhaust his administrative remedies because he did not request a 6 hearing before an administrative law judge or review by the Appeals Council (Weigel Decl. at 7 2–3). Plaintiff has also not established sufficient grounds for judicial waiver of the exhaustion 8 requirement because his action is “bound up” and therefore not “collateral” to his claim for 9 benefits. In addition, plaintiff received a partially-favorable determination at the reconsideration stage (which he pursued after filing this action), so he likely does not satisfy the irreparability 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 requirement for judicial waiver as well (Weigel Decl., Exh. A). Johnson, 2 F.3d at 921–23. 12 Therefore, plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and this Court has no 13 subject-matter jurisdiction to review plaintiff’s social security appeal. 14 Plaintiff also raises other claims in his social security appeal. His only other federal 15 claim, which is based on the “Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman Act,” is meritless. As 16 explained in a previous order, the Whistleblower Protection Act only applies to previous, 17 current, or potential employees of the government. 5 U.S.C. 2302. Plaintiff does not claim to be 18 any of those things. Plaintiff has not met his burden to establish federal jurisdiction over his 19 remaining state-law claims and this order declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the 20 state-law claims. Sopcak v. Northern Mountain Helicopter Serv., 52 F.3d 817, 818 (9th 21 Cir.1995); Lacey v. Maricopa Cnty., 693 F.3d 896, 940 (9th Cir. 2012). Defendant’s motion to 22 dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction is GRANTED. The motion hearing is VACATED. IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 24 25 Dated: April 10, 2014. WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 26 27 28 2 The regulation itself uses the words, “you” and “your.” Determinations, Administrative Review Process, and Reopening of Determinations and Decisions, 20 C.F.R. 404.900 (2013). 2

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