United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
For John Chudy, Plaintiff: Marshall T. Moriarty, LEAD ATTORNEY, Moriarty Law Firm, Springfield, MA.
For Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner Social Security Administration, Defendant: Karen L. Goodwin, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Attorney's Office, Springfield, MA; Susan M. Poswistilo, United States Attorney's Office, Boston, MA.
For Social Security Administration, Interested Party: Thomas D. Ramsey, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the General Counsel, Social Security Administration, Boston, MA.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER WITH REGARD TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION UNDER RULE 59(e) (Document No. 32)
KENNETH P. NEIMAN, United States Magistrate Judge.
Presently at issue is the defendant Commissioner's motion, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e), seeking reconsideration of the court's April 4, 2014 Memorandum and Order of Judgment, which remanded this matter for further administrative proceedings. See Chudy v. Colvin, 10 F.Supp.3d 203 (D. Mass. 2014). The Commissioner asserts that due to the First Circuit's decision in Gill v. Colvin, No. 13-1792 (1st Cir. Apr. 9, 2014), issued five days earlier, a " manifest error of law" has occurred with respect to the court's remand. For the following reasons, the court disagrees and will deny the Commissioner's motion.
In pursuing her motion, the Commissioner relies on a Rule 59 standard set out in Ruiz Rivera v. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, LLC, 521 F.3d 76, 81-82 (1st Cir. 2008), which describes certain circumstances in which a motion for reconsideration may be granted, including the one invoked here, a " manifest error of law." Upon closer examination, however, it appears that the Commissioner might more accurately be seeking reconsideration based on an " intervening change in the controlling law," a category recently cited in both In re Genzyme Corp. Sec. Litig., 754 F.3d 31, 46 (1st Cir. 2014) and Soto--Padró v. Pub. Bldgs. Auth., 675 F.3d 1, 9 (1st Cir. 2012)). See also United States v. Allen, 573 F.3d 42, 53 (1st Cir. 2009).
Whatever the grounds invoked, of course, the court has " considerable discretion" to grant or deny a motion for reconsideration. Soto-- Padró, 675 F.3d at 9. Accord United States v. 5 Bell Rock Rd., 896 F.2d 605, 611 (1st Cir. 1990) (citing Appeal of Sun Pipe Line Co., 831 F.2d 22, 25 (1st Cir. 1987)). Indeed, the instances when reconsideration is allowed are to be " narrowly configured and seldom invoked." United States v. Connell, 6 F.3d 27, 31 (1st Cir. 1993). In short, the granting of a motion for reconsideration is " an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly." Palmer v. Champion Mortg.., 465 F.3d 24, 30 (1st Cir. 2006).
The court remanded this matter to the Social Security Administration on April 4, 2014, on several grounds, including its analysis of both a Program Operations Manual System (" POMS" ) directive and the decision in Allen v. Comm'r of Social Sec., 561 F.3d 646 (6th Cir. 2009), both of which were invoked by the Commissioner. See Chudy, 10 F.Supp.3d at 204-205. Five days later, as indicated, the First Circuit issued its decision in Gill, which the Commissioner now contends has changed the legal landscape. Gill, the Commissioner asserts, addressed the same issue previously addressed in part by this court in its prior order, namely, whether a subsequent award of benefits by itself constitutes new and material evidence that warrants remand under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). More specifically, the Commissioner argues, the First Circuit endorsed the analysis set out
in Allen, which this court had previously ...