Torres v. Colvin
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER denying 30 Plaintiff's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. (Written Opinion) Signed by Chief Judge John R. Tunheim on 08/15/2017. (JMK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Civil No. 15-4416 (JRT/TNL)
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security,
AND ORDER DENYING
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO ALTER
OR AMEND JUDGMENT
David F. Chermol, CHERMOL & FISHMAN LLC, 11450 Bustleton
Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116, and Edward C. Olson, DISABILITY
ATTORNEYS OF MINNESOTA, 331 Second Avenue South, Suite 420,
Minneapolis, MN 55401, for plaintiff.
Pamela Marentette, Assistant United States Attorney, UNITED STATES
ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, 300 South Fourth Street, Suite 600,
Minneapolis, MN 55415, for defendant.
On March 30, 2017, the Court issued a memorandum opinion and order (“Order”)
adopting United States Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung’s Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”), granting summary judgment for Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, the Acting
Commissioner of Social Security, 1 and denying Plaintiff Antoinette Torres’s motion for
summary judgment. Torres v. Berryhill, No. 15-4416, 2017 WL 1194198 (D. Minn. Mar.
30, 2017). In reaching that decision, the Court considered Torres’s argument that the
Administrative Law Judge who denied her social security benefits claim erred in finding
Nancy A. Berryhill became Acting Commissioner of Social Security on January 23,
2017, and is automatically substituted for Carolyn W. Colvin as Defendant in this case pursuant
to Rule 25(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
that Torres could work or stand for two hours in a workday and could perform a reduced
range of light work. Id. at *2-3. The Court found that Torres’s reliance on a certain
Social Security Ruling (“SSR”), SSR 83-10, 1983 WL 31251, at *5-6 (Jan. 1, 1983), was
misplaced because that SSR did not set out a minimum standing or walking requirement
for a reduced range of light work. Id. at *3. The Court also noted numerous other courts
had found that a two-hour standing or walking limitation is consistent with the definition
of a reduced range of light work. Id.
On April 27, 2017, Torres filed a motion to alter or amend the Order under Fed. R.
Civ. P. 59(e). (Pl.’s Mot. & Brief at 2, April 27, 2017, Docket No. 30.)
“Rule 59(e) motions ‘serve the limited function of correcting manifest errors of
law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.’” In re Levaquin Prods. Liab. Litig.,
No. 08-5742, 2012 WL 4481223, at *3 (D. Minn. Sept. 28, 2012) (quoting Wells Fargo
Bank, N.A. v. WMR e-Pin, LLC, 653 F.3d 702, 714 (8th Cir. 2011)). “Such motions
cannot be used to introduce new evidence, tender new legal theories, or raise arguments
which could have been offered or raised prior to entry of judgment.” Id. (quoting United
States v. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2006)).
Torres’s Rule 59(e) motion argues again that SSR 83-10 sets a minimum
requirement of 2.6 hours of standing and walking in order to perform light work. As
discussed above, it is improper to re-litigate an issue under a Rule 59(e) motion; Torres’s
argument about SSR 83-10 is improper for a Rule 59(e) motion because she made the
same argument prior to the entry of summary judgment. (See Pl.’s Objs. to R&R at 2,
Feb. 3, 2017, Docket No. 26.) Torres also contends that a case to which the Order cites,
Fenton v. Apfel, 149 F.3d 907, 911 (8th Cir. 1998) (holding a two-hour standing and
walking limitation is consistent with performance of light work), is distinguishable. See
Torres, 2017 WL 1194198, at *3. However, the R&R also discussed Fenton, (see R&R
at 27-28, 30), and Torres’s objections to the R&R did not raise the argument she now
seeks to make, (see Pl.’s Objs. to R&R). As previously noted, it is improper to raise
arguments in a Rule 59(e) motion that could have been offered prior to the entry of
judgment. Therefore, as Torres’s Rule 59(e) motion raises only improper arguments, the
Court will deny the motion.
Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment under
Rule 59(e) [Docket No. 30] is DENIED.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
DATED: August 15, 2017
at Minneapolis, Minnesota.
_______s/John R. Tunheim_________
JOHN R. TUNHEIM
United States District Court
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?