DANIELS v. ASTRUE
ORDER denying 34 Plaintiff's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. ***SEE ORDER***. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 4/24/2013. (copy to Plaintiff via US Mail) (JKS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
NATALIE R. DANIELS,
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,
COMMISSIONER OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY
Presently pending before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Natalie R. Daniels’ Motion to Alter
or Amend Judgment. [Dkt. 34.]
Ms. Daniels applied for disability, disability insurance benefits, and supplemental social
security income from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) on October 8, 2008. [Dkt. 125 at 2-11.] After a series of administrative proceedings and appeals, including a hearing in December 2010 before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), the ALJ issued a finding on May 24,
2011 that Ms. Daniels was not entitled to disability, disability insurance benefits, or supplemental security income. [Dkt. 12-2 at 12-20.] In September 2011, the Appeals Council denied
Ms. Daniels’ request for a review of the ALJ’s decision, [id. at 4-6], and Ms. Daniels then filed
this action requesting that the Court review the denial by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration’s (“the Commissioner”), [dkt. 1].
On January 24, 2013, the Court affirmed the Commissioner’s denial, finding that Ms.
Daniels had not presented any legal basis to overturn the Commissioner’s decision, and that it
could not consider new records submitted by Ms. Daniels to review the ALJ’s decision. [Dkt.
32.] Ms. Daniels has filed a Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment relating to the Court’s January
24, 2013 decision. [Dkt. 34.]
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Ms. Daniels’ Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment is brought pursuant to Rule 59(e).
[See dkt. 34 at 1.] Affording relief through granting a motion for reconsideration brought pursuant to Rule 59(e) is an “extraordinary remed[y] reserved for the exceptional case.” Foster v.
DeLuca, 545 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2008). Rule 59 motions are for the limited purpose of correcting a “manifest error,” which “‘is not demonstrated by the disappointment of the losing party’; rather, ‘[i]t is the wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling
precedent.’” United States v. ITT Educ. Servs., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10512, *23-24 (S.D. Ind.
2012) (citations omitted). A motion for reconsideration is appropriate only “where the court has
misunderstood a party, where the court has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the court by the parties, where the court has made an error of apprehension (not of reasoning), where a significant change in the law has occurred, or where significant new facts have
been discovered.” Nerds On Call, Inc. (Ind.) v. Nerds On Call, Inc. (Cal.), 598 F.Supp.2d 913,
916 (S.D. Ind. 2008). Arguments that the Court has already considered and rejected “should be
directed to the court of appeals.” ITT Educ. Servs., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10512 at *24.
In her motion, Ms. Daniels states that all of the causes for her “great deal of pain, discomfort, and anxiety…have yet to be determined.” [Dkt. 34 at 1.] She advises that she has medical
appointments “scheduled through July, 2013, which may or may not add a contributing diagnosis,” and “implores the Court to allow her that opportunity.” [Id.] She argues that she was “dili-
gent” in seeking medical care when her symptoms arose, was “either dismissed, or relegated to
less-experienced interns,” and “should not be penalized for someone else’s incompetence.” [Id.]
She states that it was “never her intention to sacrifice six years of college, only to become dependent on the State to receive a fraction of the salary she could have potentially earned.” [Id. at
It is apparent from Ms. Daniels’ motion that she is requesting that the Court give her an
opportunity to submit additional medical records after her upcoming medical appointments,
which she hopes will reflect an as-yet-undetermined cause of her symptoms. In order to succeed
on a motion to alter or amend judgment under Rule 59(e), however, Ms. Daniels must show that
the Court either “misunderstood a party,…made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the court by the parties,…[or] made an error of apprehension (not of reasoning),” or
where “a significant change in the law occurred, or where significant new facts have been discovered.” Nerds On Call, Inc. (Ind.), 598 F.Supp.2d at 916. Accordingly, Ms. Daniels’ motion
is improper inasmuch as it asks the Court to reconsider its decision based on evidence not yet
Likewise, as the Court stated in its January 24, 2013 Entry, the Court’s role is limited to
reviewing the ALJ’s decision, and making sure that the evidence that was before the ALJ supports that decision. Barnett v. Barnhart, 381 F.3d 664, 668 (7th Cir. 2004). The Court cannot
consider medical records which relate to her condition during the time period after the ALJ issued his decision. See, e.g., Schmidt v. Barnhart, 395 F.3d 737, 742 (7th Cir. 2005).
While the Court is sympathetic to Ms. Daniels’ efforts to discern the cause of her symptoms, her proper recourse – should she obtain a diagnosis relating to her present condition – is to
file a new application for benefits. Bowen v. Astrue, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36412, *26-27 (S.D.
Ind. 2007). The Court cannot alter or amend its decision based on evidence not provided to the
ALJ, not provided to the Court before its January 24, 2013 decision, not yet even obtained by
Ms. Daniels herself, and relating to her current condition and not her condition at the time when
her application was denied.
For the foregoing reasons, Ms. Daniels’ Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment, [dkt. 34], is
Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
Distribution via ECF only:
Thomas E. Kieper
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Distribution via U.S. Mail:
NATALIE R. DANIELS
2836 Roberta Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46222
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