United States District Court, D. New Jersey
primarily for the parties and thus do not explain the entire
factual and procedural history. The plaintiff, Christopher
Murnane, was denied SSI benefits and appealed that decision
to this court. On February 10, 2017, I issued an opinion and
an order affirming the denial of benefits by the
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). (ECF nos. 20,
February 20, 2017, Mr. Murnane made a motion for
reconsideration. (ECF no. 22.) Mr. Murnane's counsel
explained that she had obtained approval from die U.S.
Attorney for an extension to file a reply brief in the
briefing for the initial appeal but that this request for
extension accidentally did not get filed. (Id. at
1.) As a result, the Court's order and opinion was issued
before the reply brief could be considered by the court.
Murnane's motion for reconsideration essentially lays out
the arguments he would have made in that brief. Because those
arguments would not have altered the result, the motion is
standards governing a motion for reconsideration are well
settled. See generally D.N.J. Loc. Civ. R. 7.l(i).
Reconsideration is an "extraordinary remedy," to be
granted "sparingly." NL Indus. Inc. v.
Commercial Union Ins. Co., 935 F.Supp. 513, 516 (D.N.J.
1996). Generally, reconsideration is granted in three
scenarios: (1) when there has been an intervening change in
the law; (2) when new evidence has become available; or (3)
when necessary to correct a clear error of law or to prevent
manifest injustice. See North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA
Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995);
Carmichael v. Everson, No. 3-cv-4787, 2004 WL
1587894, at *1 (D.N.J. May 21, 2004). Local Rule 7. 1(i)
requires such a motion to specifically identify "the
matter or controlling decisions which the party believes the
Judge or Magistrate Judge has overlooked." Id.; see
also Egloff v. New Jersey Air Nat'l Guard, 684
F.Supp. 1275, 1279 (D.N.J. 1988). Evidence or arguments that
were available at the time of the original decision will not
support a motion for reconsideration. Damiano v. Sony
Music Entm't, Inc., 975 F.Supp. 623, 636 (D.N.J.
1997); see also North River Ins. Co., 52 F.3d at
1218; Bapu Corp. v. Choice Hotels Int'l, Inc.,
No. 7-cv-5938, 2010 WL 5418972, at *4 (D.N.J. Dec. 23, 2010)
(citing P. Schoenfeld Asset Mgmt. LLC v. Cendant
Corp., 161 F.Supp.2d 349, 352 (D.N.J. 2001)).
general, Mr. Murnane argues that (a) the Commissioner did not
obtain any relevant, updated documents before Mr.
Murnane's hearing or before review by the Appeals
Council; and (b) the Commissioner failed to evaluate Mr.
Murnane in accordance with SSR 11-2p.
Failure to Obtain Relevant Documents
Murnane argues that certain documents were necessary to
evaluate his SSI claim but that the Commissioner failed to
update these documents after March 2013. These documents
include an updated work history, earnings records, and other
work-related documents. Mr. Murnane further argues that the
Commissioner relied too much on his own self-reported work
history, rather than on these documents. This, he says, led
to the Commissioner's being unable to fully or fairly
evaluate whether he engaged in "substantial gainful
activity." He particularly takes issue with the
Commissioner's negative assessment of his credibility
regarding his own work history.
does Mr. Murnane cite authority that the Commissioner was
obligated to update these documents after their initial
submission. In fact, he concedes that he had the burden to
obtain at least one of those documents (the State DVR, Arc
Project HIRE records). (ECF no. 22, at 4 n.3.) He also cites
no authority for the proposition that the Commissioner was
not entitled to rely on Mr. Murnane's self-reported work
history. Further, as I explored in die previous opinion, the
ALJ's decision regarding Mr. Murnane's "residual
functional capacity" was supported by other evidence,
including a state agency psychologist and the consultative
examiner. (ECF no. 20, at 8.)
therefore reject this first ground for reconsideration.
Failure to Adhere to SSR 11-2p
Murnane argues that the ALJ failed to evaluate his disability
in accordance with SSR 11-2p, Titles II and XVI:
Documenting and Evaluating Disability in Young Adults,
2011 WL 4055665. SSR 11-2p requires that special
considerations apply to the evaluation of the conditions of
individuals between 18 and 25 years of age. In the previous
opinion, I found that "the ALJ gave due consideration to
all of the evidence, made findings, and gave reasons for
them" and that the ALJ supported the determination of
Mr. Murnane's intellectual disability "with specific
findings based on the evidence in the record as a
whole." (ECF no. 20, at 8-9.) Taking another look at the
record, the ALJ considered factors particular to young adults
and appropriately evaluated them, together with other
factors. (See, e.g., R. 24-26 (evaluating plaintiffs
age, educational history, school records, and work history).)
Mr. Murnane, in trying to show that the ...