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Brown v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 8, 2017

Douglas N. Brown, Plaintiff,
Nancy A. Berryhill, Defendant.

          Elizabeth A. Stafford United States Magistrate Judge


          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN United States District Judge

         On May 17, 2017, Douglas N. Brown (“Plaintiff”) initiated this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), challenging the final decision of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under the Social Security Act (the “Act”). Dkt. No. 1.

         The matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford on May 17, 2017. Dkt. No. 4. On May 24, 2017, Magistrate Judge Stafford recommended denying Plaintiff's application because it stated, in its entirety, “claimant deceased, ” without any supporting allegations of right to execute or administer the estate or demonstration of financial need. Dkt. No. 2, p. 1 (Pg. ID 4). Plaintiff objected on June 7, 2017. Dkt. No. 6.

         For the reasons stated herein, Plaintiff's objections are overruled and the Magistrate Judge's recommendation is accepted and adopted.

         I. Standard of Review

         A. Report and Recommendation

         When a party files timely objections to a report and recommendation, the Court must “make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). “This de novo review requires the court to re-examine all of the relevant evidence previously reviewed by the magistrate judge in order to determine whether the recommendation should be accepted, rejected, or modified in whole or in part.” Cole v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 105 F.Supp.3d 738, 741 (E.D. Mich. 2015) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)).

         Overly broad objections do not satisfy the objections requirement. Spencer v. Bouchard, 449 F.3d 721, 725 (6th Cir. 2006), abrogated on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). “[W]hile the Magistrate Judge Act, 28 U.S.C. § 631 et seq., permits de novo review by the district court if timely objections are filed, absent compelling reasons, it does not allow parties to raise at the district court stage new arguments or issues that were not presented to the magistrate.” Murr v. United States, 200 F.3d 895, 902 n.1 (6th Cir. 2000); see United States v. Waters, 158 F.3d 933, 936 (6th Cir. 1998) (citing Marshall v. Chater, 75 F.3d 1421, 1426-27 (10th Cir. 1996) (“issues raised for the first time in objections to magistrate judge's report and recommendation are deemed waived”)).

         B. In Forma Pauperis Application

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), “any court of the United States may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or proceeding . . .without prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets . . . [and] that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). If an application to proceed in forma pauperis is filed along with an affidavit that states what the plaintiff's assets are and that the plaintiff is unable to pay the filing fee, the court should permit the complaint to be filed. See Gibson v. R.G. Smith Co., 915 F.2d 260, 261 (6th Cir. 1990). Once the complaint has been filed, the Court examines it to consider whether it is frivolous or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See id.

         II. Discussion

         Magistrate Judge Stafford recommended denying Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis on May 24, 2017, Dkt. No. 5, based on two grounds. First, Magistrate Judge Stafford found that Donald Brown had not alleged that he had the authority to prosecute this case on behalf of Douglas Brown. Id. at 1-2. Second, she found that the application, which states in its entirety “claimant deceased, ” leaving the rest of the application blank, did not provide adequate information about the financial resources of the estate to entitle a waiver of filing fees. Id. at 2.

         Plaintiff filed two objections to the Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation. Dkt. No. 6. First, he states that Donald Brown is the proper substitute party for Douglas Brown, who is allegedly deceased. Id. at 2. To this effect, he attaches a “NOTICE REGARDING SUBSTITUTION OF PARTY UPON DEATH OF CLAIMANT” that was not presented to the Magistrate Judge. Dkt. No. 6-1. This form lists Donald Brown as Douglas Brown's parent, but not the executor or administrator of his estate. Id. See also Blanton ex rel. Blanton v. Astrue, No. 1:10-CV-2463, 2011 WL 2637224, at *3 (N.D. Ohio June 20, 2011), report and recommendation adopted, No. 1:10 CV 2463, 2011 WL 2637248 (N.D. Ohio July 6, 2011) ...

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