United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Donald Brown, OBO Douglas N. Brown, Plaintiff,
Nancy A. Berryhill, Defendant.
ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ORDER ACCEPTEDING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDTION [#10] DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT FOR
LACK OF STANDING.
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN United States District Court Judge.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's complaint
challenging Defendant's denial of Social Security
Disability benefits (DIB) to Plaintiff's deceased son,
Mr. Douglas Brown. Mr. Douglas Brown applied for DIB on March
28, 2014. Dkt. No. 1, pg. 2 (Pg. ID 2). The Social Security
Commissioner denied the benefits on November 24, 2014.
Id. On May 4, 2016, Plaintiff had an administrative
hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Id. The ALJ denied Plaintiff's request for DIB
on June 29, 2016. Id. On April 5, 2017, the Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ
decision. Id. On May 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
complaint on behalf of his son, Douglas Brown, for judicial
review of the Commissioner's decision to deny DIB. Dkt.
No. 1. On June 23, 2017, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A.
Stafford ordered Plaintiff to Show Cause why this action
should not be dismissed for lack of standing. Dkt. No. 8.
Plaintiff responded on July 13, 2017. Dkt. No. 9. Magistrate
Judge Stafford issued a Report and Recommendation on
September 13, 2017, recommending that this Court dismiss
Plaintiff's complaint for lack of standing. Dkt. No. 10.
Plaintiff filed an objection on September 26, 2017. Dkt. No.
11. For the reasons discussed below, the Court accepts and
adopts the Magistrate Judge's recommendation and
concludes that Plaintiff lacks standing to bring this claim.
Court employs “a de novo determination of those
portions of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636 (b)(1)(C). This Court “may accept, reject or
modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations
made by the magistrate judge.” Id.
first objects to Magistrate Judge Stafford's conclusion
that he failed to bring evidence sufficient to support a
finding that the deceased has no living children. Dkt. No.
11, pg. 2 (Pg. ID 47). Plaintiff argues that affirmatively
proving someone does not have children is
“impossible.” Id. Plaintiff contends
that he brought sufficient evidence because the record is
devoid of any references to children of the deceased.
party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of
establishing the elements of standing. Cob Clearinghouse
Corp. v. Aetna U.S. Healthcare, Inc., 362 F.3d 877, 881
(6th Cir. 2004). “Standing cannot be inferred from
averments in the pleadings; rather, it must affirmatively
appear in the record from sufficient factual matter in the
complaint so as to state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face. Glenn v. Holder, 690 F.3d 417, 420 (6th
Cir. 2012) (quoting White v. U.S., 601 F.3d 545,
551-52 (2010) (internal quotation marks omitted)).
deceased claimant's benefits may be paid as follows:
1) To the spouse of the claimant if (a) living in the same
household at the time of death, or (b) entitled to a monthly
benefit on the same earnings record as the claimant for the
month of death.
2) To the children of the claimant entitled to monthly
benefits on the same earnings record as the claimant for the
month of death. (If there is more than one entitled child,
payment is made in equal parts to each child.)
3) To the parent or parents of the claimant entitled to
monthly benefits on the same earnings record as the claimant
for the month of death. (If there is more than one entitled