Turner v. Social Security Administration
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by District Judge Michael F. Urbanski on 6/18/17. (kld)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA
JOHN P. TURNER,
Civil Actiotl No. 5:17cv00058
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, )
Mich~el F. U rb~11ski
Uruted St~tes District Judge
By Memorandum Opinion and Order entered June 9, 2017, the court dismissed
plaintiffJohn P. Turner's prose social security disability appeal for lack of jurisdiction under
42 U.S.C. § 405. From the evidence he presented to the court, it appears that Turner's claim
remains pending at the Appeals Council and no final decision has been issued by the
Commissioner. As Turner has not exhausted his administrative remedies, there can be no
judicial review. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 107 (2000) (internal citations omitted).
Turner now moves for reconsideration of the court's decision (ECF No. 5), seeking
"a consolidated administrative and judicial review." Motions for reconsideration, while not
uncommon in federal practice, are not recognized under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. See Ambling Mgmt. Co. v. Univ. View Partners, LLC, No. WDQ-07-2071, 2010
WL 457508, at *1 n.3 (D. Md. Feb. 3, 2010); Above the Belt, Inc. v. Mel Bohannan Roofing,
Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99, 100 (E.D. Va. 1983). Nevertheless, courts have held that these motions
can perform a valuable function. Above the Belt, Inc., 99 F.R.D. at 101. Such a motion
would be appropriate where, for example,
the Court has patendy misunderstood a party, or has made a
decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by
the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of
apprehension. A further basis for a motion to reconsider would
be a controlling or significant change in the law or acts since the
submission of the issue to the Court. Such problems rarely arise
and the motion to reconsider should be equally rare.
Id. Indeed, because of the interest in finality, courts should grant motions for
reconsideration sparingly. Univ. ofVa. Patent Found. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 755 F. Supp. 2d
738, 743-44 (W.D. Va. 2011) (quoting Dayoub v. Penn-Del Directory Co., 90 F. Supp. 2d
636, 637 (E.D. Pa 2000)); see Downie v. Revco Discount Drug Ctrs., No. 3:05cv00021, 2006
WL 1171960, at *1 (W.D. Va. May 1, 2006). A motion to reconsider should not be used to
reiterate arguments previously made or "to ask the Court to rethink what the Court had
already thought through-righdy or wrongly." Above the Belt, Inc., 99 F.R.D. at 100.
Because Turner flled his motion for reconsideration within 28 days of the court's
dismissal order, the court will construe it as a motion to alter or amend a judgment pursuant
to Rule 59(e). See Dove v. CODESCO, 569 F.2d 807, 809 (4th Cir. 1978) ("[I]f a post
judgment motion is filed within ten days of the entry of judgment and calls into question the
correctness of that judgment it should be treated as a motion under Rule 59(e), however it
may be formally styled."); see also MLC Auto., LLC v. Town of S. Pines, 532 F.3d 269, 27778 (4th Cir. 2008) (noting CODESCO continues to apply notwithstanding the amendment
of Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4). Although Rule 59(e) does not set forth the
standard under which a district court may amend an earlier judgment, the Fourth Circuit has
outlined three reasons for doing so: "(1) to accommodate an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not available at trial; or (3) to correct a clear
error oflaw or prevent manifest injustice." Hutchinson v. Staton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1081 (4th
Cir. 1993). None of these circumstances is present in the instant case. Federal courts are
courts of limited jurisdiction. The court's exclusive jurisdiction to review final decisions of
the Commissioner of Social Security is set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 405 and is limited to final
decisions by the Commissioner. As there appears to be no such final decision rendered in
this case, this court lacks jurisdiction to consider Turner's claim. Turner's motion for
reconsideration therefore will be DENIED.
An appropriate Order will be entered.
United States District Judge
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