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McParland v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

October 14, 2016

EDWARD FRANCIS MCPARLAND, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          Judith Gail Dein, United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Edward Francis McParland (“McParland”) seeks judicial review of denial of his claims for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental security income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (“ACT”). (Docket No. 1).[1] Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”), moves to dismiss the Complaint on statute of limitations grounds. For the reasons stated herein, the Commissioner's Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 17) is DENIED.

         I. STATEMENT OF FACTS

         When ruling on a motion to dismiss brought under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts, and give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences. See Cooperman v. Individual, Inc., 171 F.3d 43, 46 (1st Cir. 1999). “Ordinarily, a court may not consider any documents that are outside of the complaint, or not expressly incorporated therein, unless the motion is converted into one for summary judgment.” Alt. Energy, Inc. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 267 F.3d 30, 33 (1st Cir. 2001). “There is, however, a narrow exception ‘for documents the authenticity of which are not disputed by the parties; for official public records; for documents central to plaintiffs' claim; or for documents sufficiently referred to in the complaint.'” Id. (quoting Watterson v. Page, 987 F.2d 1, 3 (1st Cir. 1993)). Applying these standards to the instant case, the facts relevant to the issue before this Court - the timeliness of the Complaint - are as follows.

         On April 25, 2013, an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) denied McParland's claims for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. (Docket No. 1-1 at 2). McParland then requested a review of this decision by the Appeal's Council. (Id.). On June 20, 2014, the Appeals Council mailed a Notice of Appeals Council Action (“Notice”) to McParland denying his request for further review. (Id.). The Notice stated under the bolded heading “Time To File A Civil Action, ” that:

You have 60 days to file a civil action (ask for court review).
The 60 days start the day after you receive this letter. We assume you received this letter 5 days after the date on it unless you show us that you did not receive it within the 5-day period.
If you cannot file for court review within 60 days, you may ask the Appeals Council to extend your time to file. You must have good reason for waiting more than 60 days to ask for court review. You must make the request in writing and give your reason(s) in the request.

(Docket No. 18-4 at 3) (formatting omitted).

         The Notice then goes on to state that “[w]e will send you a letter telling you whether your request for more time has been granted.” (Id.). The Appeals Council also mailed a copy of this notice to McParland's counsel, Bradford D. Myler, Esq. (Id. at 4). McParland retained new counsel on August 18, 2014. (Docket No. 1-2 at 5 (appointment of representative attached to Complaint)). There is no dispute between the parties that 65 days from the Notice date fell on Sunday, August 24, 2014, and that the due date for filing of the Complaint was Monday, August 25, 2014. (Docket No. 18 at 2; Docket No. 20 at 2).

         On August 22, 2014, three days before the August 25, 2014 deadline, McParland's new counsel faxed to the Appeals Council his request for a 30-day extension. (Docket No. 18-5 at 1). The reason given was that “additional time was required in order to complete the forms necessary to file a civil action.” (Id.). McParland filed his Complaint in this Court on September 18, 2014, while his request for an extension was still pending. (Docket No. 1 at 1, ¶ 4). The Complaint alleges that this action was commenced within the appropriate time period. (Id., ¶ 3).

         On October 31, 2014, the Appeals Council denied his request for an extension of time explaining that McParland had not provided good cause for extending the time. (Docket No. 18-6 at 1). The Respondent has moved to dismiss the Complaint on the grounds that it was not timely filed.

         Additional facts will be provided below where appropriate.

         II. ...


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