United States District Court, D. Maryland
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
STEPHANIE A. GALLAGHER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
to Standing Order 2014-01, the above-captioned case has been
referred to me to review the parties' dispositive motions
and to make recommendations pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 301.5(b)(ix). Plaintiff Corey
Douglas Ogden filed this case involving two issues: (1) an
appeal of the denial of his claim for disability benefits by
the Social Security Administration (“SSA”); and
(2) allegations of employment discrimination in his capacity
as a Claims Specialist at the SSA. The SSA has filed a Motion
to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), on the grounds that Mr. Ogden
failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing
his complaint. [ECF No. 25]. I have reviewed the SSA's
motion and Mr. Ogden's responses. [ECF Nos. 27-29]. No.
hearing is deemed necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D.
Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, I recommend that the
SSA's Motion to Dismiss be granted in part as to Mr.
Ogden's disability benefits appeal.
Facts Relevant to Disability Appeal
September 30, 2016, Mr. Ogden filed an application for Title
II disability benefits with the SSA. [ECF No. 25-2 ¶
3a]. His claims were denied initially and on reconsideration.
Id. Mr. Ogden filed a request for a hearing on June
16, 2017. Id. About two weeks later, Mr. Ogden filed
this civil action in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of West Virginia. [ECF No. 25-2 ¶ 3b].
The case was transferred to the District of Maryland on May
17, 2018. [ECF No. 20].
Standard of Review
to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction are
governed by Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. While the plaintiff bears the burden of proving
that the court has jurisdiction over the claim or controversy
at issue, a 12(b)(1) motion should only be granted if the
“material jurisdictional facts are not in dispute and
the moving party is entitled to prevail as a matter of
law.” Ferdinand-Davenport v. Children's
Guild, 742 F.Supp.2d 772, 777 (D. Md. 2010) (quoting
Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., a Div. of Standex Int'l
Corp., 166 F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir. 1999)). In a motion
to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the
pleadings should be regarded as “mere evidence on the
issue, ” and courts may “consider evidence
outside the pleadings without converting the proceeding to
one for summary judgment.” Evans, 166 F.3d at
647 (quoting Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R.
Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir.
contends that this Court does not have jurisdiction over Mr.
Ogden's claim because he failed to exhaust administrative
remedies and is not appealing from a “final
decision.” See [ECF No. 25-1 at 5-6]. Under
sections 205(g) and (h) of the Social Security Act, an
individual may only obtain judicial review of the SSA's
“final decision” after he has exhausted all
administrative remedies. 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g)-(h).
Because there is no formula for determining whether a
decision is final, the meaning of that term is left to
federal and state agencies to define by regulation. See
Weinberger v. Salfi, 422 U.S. 749, 766 (1975). SSA
regulations define a “final decision” of the SSA
as an “initial determination” that has been
pursued through all steps of the administrative review
process. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.900(a). The Social
Security administrative review process entails four steps:
(1) an initial determination; (2) reconsideration; (3) an
Administrative Law Judge hearing and decision; and (4)
Appeals Council review or denial thereof. See Id.
§§ 404.900(a)(1)-(4). Once a claimant has completed
that process, a “final decision” has been issued,
and the claimant may seek judicial review. Id.
§ 404.900(a)(5). Here, at the time he filed his
Complaint, Mr. Ogden was still awaiting the third step, the
Administrative Law Judge hearing and decision. Thus, his
administrative remedies had not been exhausted, and this
Court lacks jurisdiction to determine Mr. Ogden's
disability benefits appeal at this juncture.
Mr. Ogden's complaint clearly contains independent
allegations pertaining to employment discrimination. The
SSA's motion to dismiss does not address those issues.
Accordingly, I recommend that the case remain open and
proceed to adjudication of Mr. Ogden's employment
reasons set forth above, I respectfully recommend that:
Court GRANT in part Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, (ECF
No. 25), as to Mr. Ogden's disability benefits appeal;
Court TERMINATE the referral to a Magistrate Judge pursuant
to Standing Order 2014-01, and enter a scheduling order for
adjudication of Mr. Ogden's employment discrimination
objections to this Report and Recommendations must be served
and filed within fourteen (14) days, pursuant to Federal Rule