UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
March 27, 2012
NAKIA EPPS CARSON ON BEHALF OF J.C., PLAINTIFF,
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge
In April 2003, Plaintiff, on behalf of her minor child, J.C., filed an application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under the Social Security Act. Plaintiff alleged that J.C. had been disabled since March 24, 2003, due to various mental impairments, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a learning disorder, speech and language impairments, and borderline intellectual functioning. Defendant denied Plaintiff's application.
On June 17, 2010, Plaintiff timely filed this action, seeking judicial review of Defendant's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). See Dkt. No. 1. Defendant interposed an answer on October 12, 2010, see Dkt. No. 7. Plaintiff filed a brief in support of her complaint on January 14, 2011, see Dkt. No. 14; and Defendant filed a brief in opposition on March 4, 2011, see Dkt. No. 19. Pursuant to General Order No. 18, Magistrate Judge Bianchini proceeded as if both parties had accompanied their briefs with a motion for judgment on the pleadings. See General Order 18.
On April 28, 2011, Magistrate Judge Bianchini issued a Report and Recommendation, in which he recommended that the Court grant Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings, deny Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings, reverse Defendant's decision and remand the case to Defendant pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further administrative proceedings. See Dkt. No. 21 at 11-12. In addition, Magistrate Judge Bianchini recommended that, because the Social Security Administration Appeals Council had previously remanded this case twice and Plaintiff had initially applied for SSI on behalf of J.C. eight years ago, the Court direct Defendant "to complete further administrative proceedings within 60 days of the issuance of this order" and, if the ALJ denied Plaintiff's claim on remand, direct Defendant "to issue a final decision within 60 days of any appeal." See id. at 12. Finally, Magistrate Judge Bianchini recommended that, if Defendant did not observe these deadlines, the Court direct Defendant to calculate the benefits owed to Plaintiff immediately unless Plaintiff caused Defendant's delay in meeting those deadlines. See id. (quoting Butts, 388 F.3d at 387) (citing Heath, 2008 WL 1850649, at *2).
Defendant filed objections to Magistrate Judge Bianchini's recommendations that the Court set deadlines by which Defendant must complete all of the proceedings and that, if Defendant did not meet those deadlines, the Court direct Defendant to calculate benefits immediately. See generally Dkt. No. 22. Plaintiff filed a response to those objections. See Dkt. No. 23.*fn1
In reviewing a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the district court may decide to accept, reject or modify the recommendations therein. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The court conducts a de novo review of the magistrate judge's recommendations to which a party objects. See Pizzaro v. Bartlett, 776 F. Supp. 815, 817 (S.D.N.Y. 1991). "'"If, however, the party makes only conclusory or general objections, or simply reiterates his original arguments, the Court reviews the Report and Recommendation only for clear error."'" Salmini v. Astrue, No. 3:06-CV-458, 2009 WL 1794741, *1 (N.D.N.Y. June 23, 2009) (quoting [Farid v. Bouey, 554 F. Supp. 2d 301] at 306 [(N.D.N.Y. 2008)] (quoting McAllan v. Von Essen, 517 F. Supp. 2d 672, 679 (S.D.N.Y. 2007))). Finally, even if the parties file no objections, the court must ensure that the face of the record contains no clear error. See Wilds v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 262 F. Supp. 2d 163, 169 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (quotation omitted).
The Court has reviewed de novo those recommendations to which Defendant objects and for clear error those recommendations to which Defendant does not object. Having completed the appropriate review, the Court concludes that, for the reasons that Magistrate Judge Bianchini stated, remand is appropriate. However, although the Court encourages Defendant to complete further administrative proceedings as expeditiously as possible, it will not place any deadlines on the completion of such proceedings.*fn2 Accordingly, the Court hereby
ORDERS that Magistrate Judge Bianchini's April 28, 2011 Report and Recommendation is ACCEPTED in part and rejected in part; and the Court further
ORDERS that Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED; and the Court further
ORDERS that Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings is DENIED; and the Court further
ORDERS that Defendant's decision denying benefits is REVERSED; and the Court further
ORDERS that this matter is REMANDED for further proceedings in accordance with Magistrate Judge Bianchini's Report and Recommendation pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); and the Court further
ORDERS that the Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment in favor of Plaintiff and close this case.
IT IS SO ORDERED.