Turner v. Social Security Administration
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by District Judge Michael F. Urbanski on 6/8/2017. (jat)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA
JOHN P. TURNER,
Civil Action No. 5:17cv00058
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, )
Michael F. Urbanski
United States District Judge
Proceeding prose, plaintiff John P. Turner f1led the instant complaint against the
Social Security Administration, seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Turner
previously f1led suit against the Commissioner of Social Security in this court on October 1,
2013, after he received a notice from the Appeals Council that his request for review had
been denied. Case No. 5:13cv00093 (ECF No.3). Upon review of Turner's prose disability
appeal, the Commissioner determined that further evaluation of his disability claim was
warranted and moved to remand. The court granted that motion, over Turner's objection,
and remanded Turner's case to the Commissioner pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) for further consideration. Case No. 5:13cv00093 (ECF Nos. 43, 44). The court denied
Turner's motion for reconsideration, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently
affirmed the court's decision. Case No. 5:13cv00093 (ECF Nos. 46, 47, 51, 52).
Turner f1led the instant social security disability appeal after receiving a notice of
unfavorable decision from the Social Security Administration dated January 4, 2017. This
notice directs Turner to f1le an appeal with the Appeals Council, which it appears Turner did
by certified mail on January 6, 2017. ECF No. 2-1, at 8. There is no indication from the
records provided, however, that the Appeals Council has issued a ruling on Turner's claim.
This court has jurisdiction to review final decisions of the Commissioner of Social
Security pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), which provides in relevant part:
Any individual, after any final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security made after a hearing to which he was a party,
irrespective of the amount in controversy, may obtain a review
of such decision by a civil action commenced within sixty days
after the mailing to him of notice of such decision or within
such fur¢.er time as the Commissioner of Social Security may
allow. Such action shall be brought in the district court of the
United States for the judicial district in which the plaintiff
resides, or has his principal place of business, or, if he does not
reside or have his principal place of business within any such
judicial district, in the United States District Court for the
District of Columbia....
This section provides the exclusive jurisdictional basis for judicial review of claims under the
Social Security Act. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(h) ("No findings of fact or decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security shall be reviewed by any person, tribunal, or governmental
agency except as herein provided."). The court's jurisdiction, however, is limited to final
decisions by the Commissioner. "If a claimant fails to request review from the [Appeals]
Council, there is no final decision and, as a result, no judicial review in most cases. In
administrative-law parlance, such a claimant may not obtain judicial review because he has
failed to exhaust administrative remedies." Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 107 (2000) (internal
Because he appears to be indigent, the court GRANTS Turner's motion to proceed
in forma pauperis. However, the court lacks jurisdiction over this social security case,
because it does not appear that there has been a final decision issued by the Commissioner,
and Turner therefore has not exhausted his administrative remedies. As such, this matter will
be DISMISSED without prejudice and STRICKEN from the active docket of the court.
An appropriate Order will be entered.
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United States QistrictJudge ....
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