Administration’s (“SSA”) Appeals Council denied
Brownawell’s request for review, she filed a complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) in the Middle District of
Brownawell’s case was referred to Magistrate Judge
Thomas Blewitt, who concluded that the ALJ’s decision was
not supported by substantial evidence and recommended
remand to the ALJ for further proceedings. Specifically,
Magistrate Judge Blewitt found that “the ALJ erred in finding
that [Brownawell’s] treatment history was limited, as this
finding is contradicted by frequent visits to her family doctor
and multiple visits to the emergency room.” Brownawell v.
Barnhart, Civ. No. 3:CV-02-1168, slip op. at 12 (M.D. Pa.
August 22, 2003). On October 21, 2003, the District Court
issued an order adopting Magistrate Judge Blewitt’s report
and recommendation and remanding Brownawell’s case to the
SSA “for reconsideration of the evidence, giving proper
weight to the testimony of Kathy Brownawell, the treating
physician, [Dr. Grem,] the consultative psychiatrist, [Dr.
Picciotto,] the non-examining psychologist, [Dr. Rightmyer,]
and the vocational expert.” Brownawell v. Barnhart, Civ. No.
3:CV-02-1168 (M.D. Pa. August 22, 2003) (order remanding
case to SSA).
On July 20, 2004, after a second hearing, ALJ Morriss
again found that Brownawell was not entitled to SSI; that
decision is the subject of the current appeal. After the
Appeals Council denied review, Brownawell filed a second §
405(g) complaint in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The
District Court referred the case to Magistrate Judge Malachy
Once the Appeals Council denies a request for review, the
ALJ’s decision becomes the final decision of the Commissioner
and can be appealed to a district court. Matthews v. Apfel, 239
F.3d 589, 592 (3d Cir. 2001).