United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
C. NORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on plaintiff Michael Cory
O'Quinn's (“O'Quinn”) motion to
remand pursuant to sentence six of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g),
ECF No. 15. For the reasons set forth below, the court grants
was born October 17, 1990 and was 23 years old on his alleged
onset of disability date, December 31, 2011. R. at 16, 25.
O'Quinn claims disability due to, inter alia,
asthma, seizure disorder, and history of anoxic brain injury
causing neurocognitive deficits and tremors. R. at 19.
O'Quinn has at least a high school education and has past
relevant work as a cook. R. at 25. O'Quinn filed for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under the
Social Security Act (“the Act”) on August 19,
2014. R. at 16. His application was denied
initially and on reconsideration. R. at 16. Following a
hearing, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Ronald Sweeda denied
O'Quinn's claim on January 10, 2018. R. 17-33. On
December 17, 2018, the Appeals Council denied
O'Quinn's request for review, R. at 1-7, making the
ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision for
purposes of judicial review. O'Quinn then filed the
instant action on January 9, 2019.
to the instant motion, O'Quinn explains that he submitted
updated medical records prior to the hearing before the ALJ
and that the “Administration appears to have failed to
exhibit those records fully.” ECF No. 15 at 2.
O'Quinn has attached to his motion the entirety of the
submitted medical records at issue. ECF Nos. 15-1; 15-2;
15-3. O'Quinn submitted 60 pages of records from Bon
Secours St. Francis Hospital, and only 10 pages are included
in the record; O'Quinn submitted 24 pages from West
Ashley Internal Medicine, and only 9 pages were included in
the record; and O'Quinn submitted 7 pages from Harvest
Free Clinic, and only 3 pages were included in the record.
Compare ECF Nos. 15-1; 15-2; 15-3 with R.
on the foregoing, on August 29, 2019, O'Quinn filed a
motion to remand pursuant to sentence six of 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) (“Sentence Six”). ECF No. 15. Defendant
Andrew Saul (“the Commissioner”) responded in
support of the motion on October 8, 2019 but argued that the
matter should be remanded pursuant to sentence four of 42
U.S.C. § 405(g) (“Sentence Four”). ECF No.
20. O'Quinn filed a reply on October 15, 2019. ECF No.
21. The motion is ripe for review.
parties agree that remand is appropriate; however, they
disagree on the grounds upon which the court should remand
the matter. The Supreme Court has identified two types of
remand under § 450(g): remands pursuant to Sentence Six
and remands pursuant to Sentence Four. Melkonyan v.
Sullivan, 501 U.S. 89, 98 (1991). “[S]entence six
applies to a remand based on new and material evidence
supplied to the court, which was not submitted to the ALJ or
the Appeals Council and was not considered in reaching the
Commissioner's final disability decision.”
Mannon v. Colvin, 2013 WL 5770524, at *9 (S.D. W.Va.
Oct. 24, 2013) (citations omitted). In a Sentence Six remand,
the district court does not affirm, modify, or reverse the
Secretary's decision; it does not rule in any way as to
the correctness of the administrative determination. Rather,
the court remands because new evidence has come to light that
was not available to the claimant at the time of the
administrative proceeding and that evidence might have
changed the outcome of the prior proceeding.
Melkonyan, 501 U.S. at 98. Under Sentence Six,
remand to the Commissioner on the basis of newly discovered
evidence is appropriate if four prerequisites are met:
(1) the evidence must be relevant to the determination of
disability at the time the application(s) was first filed;
(2) the evidence must be material to the extent that the
Commissioner's decision might reasonably have been
different had the new evidence been before him; (3) there
must be good cause for the claimant's failure to submit
the evidence when the claim was before the Commissioner; and
(4) the claimant must make at least a general showing of the
nature of the new evidence to the reviewing court.
Miller v. Barnhart, 64 Fed.Appx. 858, 859-60 (4th
Cir. 2003); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
Borders v. Heckler, 777 F.2d 954, 955 (4th Cir.
1985). If a matter is remanded pursuant to
Sentence Six, the parties must return to the court after
remand to file modified findings of fact. Melkonyan,
501 U.S. at 98. The reviewing court retains jurisdiction
pending remand and does not enter a final judgment until
after the completion of remand proceedings. See Allen v.
Chater, 67 F.3d 293, 1995 WL 579275, at *1 (4th Cir.
1995) (holding that an order remanding a claim for Social
Security benefits pursuant to sentence six of 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) is not a final order).
contrast, “[t]o remand under sentence four, the
reviewing court must find either that the Commissioner's
decision is not supported by substantial evidence or that the
Commissioner incorrectly applied the law relevant to the
disability claim.” Brown v. Astrue, 2013 WL
625599, at *5 (D.S.C. Jan. 31, 2013), adopted by, 2013 WL
625581 (D.S.C. Feb. 20, 2013). “After a remand under
sentence four, the court enters a final and immediately
appealable judgment and then loses jurisdiction.”
Id. (citations omitted).
O'Quinn asserts the updated medical records at issue
satisfy the requirements for a Sentence Six remand because:
(1) they were “generated during the time relevant to
[O'Quinn's] claim”; (2) the records “may
[ ] have changed the ALJ's conclusions” given the
importance of the records to O'Quinn's disability
claim; (3) good cause exists because O'Quinn
“attempted to furnish the evidence to the Commissioner,
but apparent technical or administrative error led to
incomplete exhibits”; and (4) O'Quinn has made
“a sufficient ‘general showing'” of the
nature of the evidence as he has submitted to the Court the
records at issue. ECF No. 15 at ...