UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
May 19, 2011
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (DOC. 30), VACATING ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, VACATING JUDGMENT, AND REOPENING CASE.
Plaintiff Jimmy Rodriguez asserts this action against the Commissioner of Social Security ("Defendant"), seeking review of an administrative decision denying his claims for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. Plaintiff seeks to challenge the findings of the administrative law judge ("ALJ"), who found Plaintiff's knee impairment was not severe, and that Plaintiff was not compliant with treatment for his diabetes. In addition, Plaintiff alleges he received ineffective assistance of counsel at the administrative hearings, and that the ALJ "prejudged" him at the time of the hearing.
On March 11, 2011, the Magistrate Judge recommended Plaintiff's social security appeal be denied, and that Defendant's motion for summary judgment be granted. Doc. 26. The Magistrate Judge found Plaintiff's contentions of errors at the administrative hearing and by the ALJ were without merit.
Id. at 16. Further, the Magistrate Judge found the ALJ supported his determination that Plaintiff's knee injury was not severe with objective medical evidence, and used proper legal standards in determining Plaintiff failed to comply with his treatment.
Although Plaintiff was granted 14 days from March 11, 2011, or until March 25, 2011, to file objections to the Magistrate's Judges Findings and Recommendations, he did not do so. A March 28, 2011 Order adopted the Findings and Recommendations of the Magistrate Judge in full. Doc. 28. Plaintiff's appeal was denied, Defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted, and the Clerk of Court was directed to enter judgment in favor of Defendant and against Plaintiff. Id. at 4. The case was then closed.
On March 31, 2011, Plaintiff filed a "Motion for Reconsideration," claiming that he never received a copy of the Findings and Recommendations.*fn1 The docket reveals that the Findings and Recommendations were served on Plaintiff on March 11, 2011, by U.S. mail. See docket entry dated 3/11/2011. However, Plaintiff claims that he first learned of the Findings and Recommendations on March 30, 2011, when he received a copy of the Order Adopting, dated March 28, 2011. See Doc. 30. He then called and spoke with an employee of the Court, who sent him a copy of the Findings and Recommendations. Plaintiff explains:
"I live in an [apartment] complex, and this is not the first time that I did not receive mail from the Eastern [District] Court." Id.
Although it is not the Court's responsibility to ensure delivery once a document is placed in the U.S. Mail, in an abundance of caution, Plaintiff will be afforded one additional opportunity to file objections to the Findings and Recommendations, a copy of which he now claims to possesses. Any such objections shall be filed within fourteen days of service of this order. No further extensions will be granted.
I.CONCLUSION For the reasons set forth above:
1. Plaitniff's motion for reconsideration is GRANTED.
2. The Order Adopting the Findings and Recommendations is VACATED.
3. The Clerk of Court is directed to VACATE the Judgment and REOPEN this case.
4. Plaintiff shall have fourteen days from service of this order to file objections to the Findings and Recommendations.
IT IS SO ORDERED.