United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM
E. JONES United States Magistrate Judge
Austin-Martin alleges that she became disabled on April 25,
2011, as a result of a car accident that caused injuries to
her back, neck, shoulder, and hips. She applied for
disability benefits in early 2012 but was denied at the
administrative level by an administrative law judge. Ms.
Austin-Martin then sought judicial review pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g), arguing that the ALJ's decision
should be reversed and that she should be awarded benefits.
Alternatively, Ms. Austin-Martin sought to have the matter
remanded to the Commissioner of Social Security to consider
an assessment that her primary care physician, Matthew
Richlen, M.D., had rendered subsequent to the ALJ's
February 13, 2018, the Court issued a decision and order
remanding this matter to the Commissioner for consideration
of Dr. Richlen's assessment pursuant to sentence six of
§ 405(g). See Decision and Order, ECF No. 19.
The Court determined that, despite being completed well after
the ALJ's decision, Dr. Richlen's assessment
constituted “new evidence” for purposes of a
sentence-six remand because it provided “a new
perspective” from a primary care physician, and the
record did not contain any other medical opinions from a
treating source. Id. at 9-10. The Court also
determined that the assessment was “material, ”
as Dr. Richlen had opined that Ms. Austin-Martin's
combined impairments medically equaled a presumptively
disabling impairment. Id. at 10-11. Finally, the
Court concluded that, in this instance, Ms.
Austin-Martin's deficient representation at the
administrative level established “good cause” for
her failure to seek out and include a medical opinion from
Dr. Richlen in the earlier record. Id. at 11.
Commissioner has filed a motion requesting the Court to
reconsider its remand order “in light of the [Social
Security] Act, the enabling regulations, and Seventh Circuit
precedent.” See Defendant's Motion for
Relief from an Order 1, ECF No. 20. The Commissioner argues
that Ms. Austin-Martin had a duty to obtain evidence of her
disability, whether or not she was represented by counsel at
the administrative level, and that Dr. Richlen's opinion
was based on information available during those proceedings.
The Commissioner further argues that the alleged
ineffectiveness of counsel did not relieve Ms. Austin-Martin
of that duty and, therefore, Ms. Austin-Martin did not show
good cause for failing to provide Dr. Richlen's
assessment during the administrative proceedings.
for reconsideration do not exist under the Federal
Rules.” Mangan v. Colvin, No. 12 C 7203, 2014
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120515, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 28, 2014)
(citing Talano v. Nw. Med. Faculty Found., Inc., 273
F.3d 757, 760 n.1 (7th Cir. 2001)). Rather, “[s]uch
motion are properly brought pursuant to Rule 59(e) or Rule
60(b).” Mangan, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120515,
at *1. Rule 59(e) permits a losing party to seek to alter or
amend a judgment “when there is newly discovered
evidence or there has been a manifest error of law or
fact.” Harrington v. City of Chicago, 433 F.3d
542, 546 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing Bordelon v. Chi. Sch.
Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000)).
Likewise, a losing party may seek relief from a judgment or
order under Rule 60(b) “for a variety of reasons
including mistake, excusable neglect, newly discovered
evidence, and fraud.” Harrington, 433 F.3d at
546. “Rule 60(b) relief is an extraordinary remedy and
is granted only in exceptional circumstances.”
Id. (quoting Karraker v. Rent-A-Center,
Inc., 411 F.3d 831, 837 (7th Cir. 2005)).
Commissioner has not provided a sufficient basis for relief
under Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b). A sentence-six remand does
not result in a judgment from the district court, see
Melkonyan v. Sullivan, 501 U.S. 89, 100 (1991), and the
Court did not enter one. Thus, the Commissioner is not
entitled to relief under Rule 59(e). Likewise, the
Commissioner's arguments do not satisfy any of the
grounds for relief listed in Rule 60(b). The legal authority
cited by the Commissioner, see Def.'s Mot. 5-6,
does not compel that a change in representation can never,
under any circumstances, provide “good cause” for
a sentence-six remand. And the Commissioner's remaining
arguments were already presented to and rejected by the
Court. See Caisse Nationale De Credit Agricole v. CBI
Indus., 90 F.3d 1264, 1269 (7th Cir. 1996) (explaining
that motions for reconsideration cannot be employed to rehash
old arguments or present arguments that could have been made
previously). The Court stands by the reasoning of its remand
for all the foregoing reasons, the Court will deny the
Commissioner's motion for reconsideration.
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant's
Motion for Relief from an ...