United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
filed a complaint seeking judicial review pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g), claiming that the Social Security
Administration's final decision denying her claim for
disability benefits is erroneous. (ECF No. 1). Defendant
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, arguing that it
was filed untimely and ineligible for equitable tolling of
the applicable statute of limitations. (ECF No. 15).
Plaintiff filed a response in opposition on June 13, 2018.
(ECF No. 18). No reply was filed.
Administrative Law Judge issued a decision denying
Plaintiff's claims on January 28, 2016. (ECF No. 15-2).
Plaintiff requested review of the ALJ's decision. By
letter dated May 12, 2017, the Social Security
Administration's Office of Disability Adjudication and
Review notified Plaintiff that its review of her claim
revealed no basis for changing the Administrative Law
Judge's decision. (ECF No. 15-2, pp. 19-21). The letter
also instructed Plaintiff that, if she chose to file a civil
action requesting court review of her claim, she must do so
within 60 days. The letter advised: “If you cannot file
for court review within 60 days, you may ask the Appeals
Council to extend your time to file. . . . You must mail your
request for more time to the Appeals Council at the address
shown at the top of this notice.” (ECF No. 15-2, pp.
20-21). Plaintiff attempted to request reconsideration of her
disability claim or an extension of time to file the civil
action by mailing a letter dated June 21, 2017 (ECF No. 18-1,
pp. 23-24), to the Office of Disability Adjudication and
Review on June 30, 2017 (see certified mail receipt at ECF
No. 18-1, p. 3). The statutory time period that Plaintiff was
permitted to request court review closed on July 17, 2017.
(ECF No. 15-2, p. 20) (60 days after the Office of Disability
Adjudication and Review's May 12, 2017, Notice to
Plaintiff, allowing 5 additional days for mailing). Plaintiff
filed a Complaint for Denied Social Security Claim in the
United States District Court for the District of Maryland on
January 5, 2018. (ECF No. 1).
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 636, a district judge may designate a
magistrate judge to conduct hearings and report proposed
findings of fact and recommendations for action on a
dispositive motion. Thereafter,
A party who is aggrieved by a magistrate judge's report
and recommendation as to a dispositive motion must file
“specific written objections to the proposed findings
and recommendations” within fourteen days. Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(2). The district judge must then “determine
de novo any part of the magistrate judge's
disposition that has been properly objected to.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). But, the court “need only
conduct a de novo review of those portions of the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation to which
objection is made.” Chavis v. Smith, 834
F.Supp. 153, 154 (D.Md.1993). As to those portions of the
report for which there is no objection, the district court
“must ‘only satisfy itself that there is no clear
error on the face of the record in order to accept the
recommendation.'” Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315-16 (4th Cir.
2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee note),
cert. denied, 546 U.S. 1091, 126 S.Ct. 1033, 163
L.Ed.2d 855 (2006).
Balt. Line Handling Co. v. Brophy, 771 F.Supp.2d
531, 534-35 (D. Md. 2011).
paperless order, this action was referred to Magistrate Judge
Stephanie A. Gallagher for pretrial management and
preparation of a Report and Recommendations pursuant to
Standing Order 2014-01. Judge Gallagher issued a Report and
Recommendations on July 9, 2018, concluding that the Social
Security Administration's motion to dismiss should be
granted and the case dismissed as untimely filed. (ECF No.
19). The parties were advised that any objections to Judge
Gallagher's Report and Recommendations should be filed
within fourteen (14) days under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 72(b) and Local Rule 301.5(b). (ECF No. 19). The
parties allowed the period for objection to expire without
protest. Based on a review of the record, the undersigned
will provide Plaintiff additional time to supplement the
record for the reasons stated below.
Social Security Act (the “Act”) provides
procedural guidelines for parties seeking judicial review of
a benefits determination:
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 further time as the Commissioner of
Social Security may allow.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Section 405(h) of the Act adds that
“[n]o findings of fact or decision of the Commissioner
. . . shall be reviewed . . . except as provided” under
Title II of the Act. Id. § 405(h).
equitable tolling of the 60-day period is appropriate if
consistent with congressional intent and warranted by the
facts of the case. Bowen v. City of New York, 476
U.S. 467, 479 (1986). Tolling is permitted “where the
claimant has actively pursued his judicial remedies by filing
a defective pleading during the statutory period.”
Irwin v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, 498 U.S. 89,
96 (1990) (citation omitted); see Burnett v. N.Y. Cent.
R.R. Co., 380 U.S. 424 (1965) (statute of limitations
tolled after plaintiff timely filed suit in the wrong court).
Adversely, tolling will not be permitted where Plaintiff
merely failed to exercise due diligence in correctly and
timely filing her claim. Baldwin Cty. Welcome Ctr. v.