United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent
to United States District Judge D.P. Marshall Jr. You may
file written objections to all or part of this
Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must: (1)
specifically explain the factual and/or legal basis for your
objection, and (2) be received by the Clerk of this Court
within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. By not
objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of
The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“Commissioner”) has filed the pending motion for
summary judgment. See Docket Entry 8. For the reason
that follows, the undersigned recommends that the motion be
granted and this case be dismissed without prejudice.
The record reflects that plaintiff Judy Cox
(“Cox”), on behalf of Darrell Clay Cox, began the
case at bar by filing a pro se complaint. In the
complaint, Cox sought the supplemental security income
payments allegedly owed her deceased son, Darrell Clay Cox,
or, alternatively, the living expenses she incurred on his
behalf prior to his death.
Commissioner thereafter filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), (2), and (6), a
motion the undersigned subsequently construed as one for
summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56. See Docket Entry 10. In the motion, the
Commissioner maintained that the federal courts lack
jurisdiction because Cox is “not an acceptable
substitute party for [Darrell Clay Cox's] claim for
[supplemental security income payments]” and there is
no evidence that “the State was a potential party of
interest for having provided interim assistance.”
See Docket Entry 9 at CM/ECF 2.
filed a response to the motion to dismiss. In the response,
she clarified that she was not seeking the supplemental
security income payments allegedly owed her son but was
instead seeking reimbursement for living expenses. She
maintained that she incurred the expenses because she was
required to care for him as he suffered from severe
impairments and was unable to work.
Commissioner accompanied her motion with several documents,
one of which is the Declaration of Cristina Prelle
(“Prelle”). The facts outlined in Prelle's
declaration are unrebutted, supported by the record as a
whole, and establish that the material facts are not in
dispute. Those facts, as well as facts derived from the
record as a whole, are as follows:
February 29, 2016, Darrell Clay Cox filed an application for
supplemental security income payments in which he alleged
that he had become disabled beginning on December 1, 2011.
See Docket Entry 9, Exhibit A at CM/ECF 13.
February 16, 2018, an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) found that although Darrell Clay Cox, a
fifty-year-old man, suffered from severe impairments in the
form of bilateral leg swelling, anxiety, and post-traumatic
stress disorder, Cox was not under a disability as defined by
the Social Security Act at any time since the date of his
application. See Docket Entry 9, Exhibit A at CM/ECF
Darrell Clay Cox died on February 21, 2018. See
Docket Entry 9, Declaration of Cristina Prelle at CM/ECF 3.
March 16, 2018, the Social Security Administration received a
letter from Cox, Darrell Clay Cox's mother, appealing the
ALJ's unfavorable decision. See Docket Entry 9,
Declaration of Cristina Prelle at CM/ECF 3.
the letter, Cox represented that she was required to watch
her son twenty-four hours a day, described the many
difficulties and problems she encountered doing so, and asked
that she be awarded his ...