UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
November 10, 2008
CANDICE A. HENRY, PLAINTIFF,
JO ANNE B. BARNHART, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge
The matters before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Court to Reconsider, Alter or Amend Judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e). (Doc. #28).
Plaintiff commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review of the decision of the Defendant Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff's application for Supplemental Security Income disability benefits.
On August 25, 2008, the Magistrate Judge filed a Report and Recommendation recommending that this Court deny Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 25). No objections were filed to the Report and Recommendation.
On September 18, 2009, this Court declined to adopt the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge and entered an Order granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant. The Court concluded that the ALJ failed to provide specific and legitimate reasons for rejecting the assessment of physical limitations by Plaintiff's treating physician and improperly weighed the medical evidence. The Clerk of Court entered Judgment accordingly. (Doc. # 27).
Defendant moves to alter or amend the Judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on the grounds that 1) the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge should have become final on its own terms because both parties impliedly consented to voluntarily try the case on the merits before the Magistrate Judge, and 2) this Court made a key error confusing the assessment of physical limitations with clinical findings.
"It is appropriate for a court to alter or amend judgment under Rule 59(e) if (1) the district court is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2) the district court committed clear error or made an initial decision that was manifestly unjust, or (3) there is an intervening change in controlling law." Duarte v. Bardales, 526 F.3d 563, 567 (9th Cir. 2008) (quotation and citation omitted).
In this case, the Magistrate Judge filed "his proposed findings and recommendations" pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), "[a] judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendation made by the magistrate judge." Jurisdiction to determine summary judgment and to enter judgment in this case remained with the district judge. Under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1), the parties may expressly consent to the conduct of all proceedings by the Magistrate Judge. There was no express or implied consent by any party in the record of this case.
Defendant further contends that this Court made a key error in analysis based upon confusing the assessment of physical limitations with clinical findings. This Court has reviewed the record and will adhere to its conclusion that the "detailed findings" of Dr. Close do not provide a specific and legitimate reason supported by substantial evidence in the record for rejecting the physical assessments of Plaintiff's treating physician under the facts of this case. (AR16).
After reviewing the record, this Court concludes that there are no grounds to alter or amend the judgment in this case.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Defendant's Motion for Court to Reconsider, Alter or Amend Judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) (#28) is DENIED.
WILLIAM Q. HAYES United States District Judge
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