Finally, plaintiff argues that it is not necessary to remand this matter to enable an ALJ to consult with a medical advisor regarding Ms. Thach's mental impairment since May 1988. Plaintiff claims that the record "fully supports [a finding that she was mentally impaired] already." Plaintiff's opp. at 4. According to plaintiff, a report from consultative psychologist Dr. Marjorie Clos, dated April 23, 1991, diagnosed that Ms. Thach has a psychotic disorder and that "she has been this way, depressed, anxious, having insomnia and anorexia, since 1987." Id. ; see plaintiff's opp., Exhibit 2 at 3. Plaintiff concludes that two administrative hearings have already been held where a medical advisor could have been consulted and "the Secretary should not be permitted to further delay Ms. Thach's case now by getting a third opportunity to consult a medical advisor." Plaintiff's opp. at 4.
Although I recognize that the Secretary is in a far better position to determine whether the evidence she seeks is necessary to adequately assess plaintiff's claims, she still must present enough information to establish that good cause exists to remand this case. In the face of plaintiff's contentions and evidence to the contrary, the Secretary must do more than simply state that additional evidence is necessary to fully evaluate plaintiff's claim for disability benefits.
Here, the defendant has only offered conclusory remarks, and little substance. The Secretary states, "the record contains no clear medical evidence relating to Plaintiff's mental impairment during the time period at issue." Defendant's motion at 3. The Secretary has not, however, presented a copy of the administrative record from the hearing conducted by ALJ Stephens, nor cited to any evidence to support her claim above. Moreover, the Secretary has not even offered any proof or argument to contradict plaintiff's claims that the record contains information, such as a doctor's report, that suggests that plaintiff suffered from a mental impairment from 1987 to 1991. Simply, the Secretary has provided no basis to grant her motion to remand. Plaintiff filed her original application for SSI benefits in May 1988. After approximately six years, two administrative hearings and one remand, the Secretary seeks yet another remand. As plaintiff notes, a remand would just further delay this matter. The Secretary proffers just one paragraph consisting of cursory statements to justify a decision to remand this matter. I find that the Secretary must present some information, e.g. facts, evidence, exhibits, affidavits, etc., to establish that good cause exists to remand. The Secretary's failure to adequately support her motion has been made even more egregious by the plaintiff's effort to rebut each and every point the Secretary tendered. Accordingly, I conclude that the Secretary has not demonstrated that good cause exists to remand this matter for additional administrative proceedings. To decide otherwise, would make the "good cause" requirement in 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) a mere formality.
For the foregoing reasons, and upon consideration of the motions, responses, and the documents and affidavits attached thereto, the motion of plaintiff Da Thi Thach for leave to amend her complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a) shall be granted and the motion of defendant Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services, to remand shall be denied.
An appropriate Order follows.
AND NOW, this 30th day of March 1994, upon consideration of the motion of plaintiff Da Thi Thach for leave to amend her complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a) (Document No. 13) and the response thereto, and for the reasons stated in the attached memorandum, it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, upon consideration of the motion of defendant Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services, to remand this matter so the Secretary of Health and Human Services can take additional administrative action (Document No. 16), and the response thereto, and for the reasons stated in the attached memorandum, defendant's motion is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall file her amended complaint in the form attached to her motion no later than April 15, 1994. Moreover, the parties shall comply with the following:
(1) Plaintiff shall cause the amended complaint to be served upon the defendant within ten (10) days of the filing of the amended complaint.
(2) Defendant shall serve and file an answer, together with a certified copy of the transcript of the administrative record, within sixty (60) days of service of the amended complaint.