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Hazen v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

April 21, 2015

JAN HAZEN, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER

VICTOR E. BIANCHINI, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

In April of 2010, Plaintiff Jan Hazen applied for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits under the Social Security Act. The Commissioner of Social Security denied the application.

Plaintiff, represented by Cory J. Brandt, Esq., commenced this action seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's denial of benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405 (g) and 1383 (c)(3). The parties consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge. (Docket No. 8).

On January 5, 2015, the Honorable Rosanna Malouf Peterson, Chief United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B). (Docket No. 16).

On March 16, 2015, this Court entered a Decision and Order granting Plaintiff summary judgment and remanding this case for calculation of benefits. (Docket No. 19). The Clerk entered Judgment in favor of Plaintiff on that same date. (Docket No. 20). On March 19, 2015, the Commissioner moved to alter or amend the Judgment pursuant to Rule 59 (e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Docket No. 21). Plaintiff opposed the motion on April 2, 2015. (Docket No. 22).

Familiarity with this Court's prior Decision and Order is presumed. For the following reasons, the Commissioner's motion is denied.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Rule 59 (e) Standard

A court may alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 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." Zimmerman v. City of Oakland, 255 F.3d 734, 740 (9th Cir. 2001). However, a motion for reconsideration is not appropriately brought to present arguments already considered by the court. Backlund v. Barnhart, 778 F.2d 1386, 1388 (9th Cir.1985).

In this case, the Commissioner does not argue that there is newly discovered evidence or that controlling law has changed. Rather, the Commissioner contends that this Court committed clear error by remanding for calculation of benefits, as opposed to remanding for further proceedings.

B. Remand

In a case where the ALJ's determination is not supported by substantial evidence or is tainted by legal error, the court may remand the matter for additional proceedings or an immediate award of benefits. A remand for calculation of benefits is warranted where "(1) the ALJ failed to provide legally sufficient reasons for rejecting the evidence; (2) there are no outstanding issues that must be resolved before a determination of disability can be made; and (3) it is clear from the record that the ALJ would be required to find the claimant disabled were ...


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