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THORN v. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

June 11, 2005.

WESLEY G. THORN, Plaintiff,
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHARD LEON, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on defendant's renewed motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. Having considered defendant's motion, plaintiff's opposition, and the entire record of this case, the Court will dismiss this action.

I. BACKGROUND

  This civil action began with a claim under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, against the Social Security Administration ("SSA") seeking access to and disclosure of information regarding, among other matters, SSA's refusal to pay plaintiff disability benefits upon his incarceration in November 2003. A review of the record made clear that plaintiff submitted other requests under the FOIA and the Privacy Act to various SSA offices in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Missouri, Maryland, and Virginia. See Compl. at 3-4; Second Amd. Compl. at 4-6. A. Requests under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts

 
I. Mid-Atlantic Program Service Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  Plaintiff alleged that he submitted a request to SSA's Mid-Atlantic Program Service Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 1, 2004. Compl. at 3; Second Amd. Compl. at 5. Specifically, he sought:
 
a copy of two social security checks . . . issued for the months of November 2003 and of December 2003. I would like to have copies front and back, clearly showing who encashed [sic] said items and the routing markings thereto.
Compl., Ex. A. When he received no response promptly, he sent what he calls a "pre-Appeal letter" to the Mid-Atlantic Program Service Center on April 22, 2004. Id., Ex. B. After he received no response, he submitted a letter of appeal to that same office. Id., Ex. C. Plaintiff apparently received no response to these letters.

  2. Central Office in Baltimore, Maryland

  In April 2004, plaintiff addressed a request to the FOIA Officer at SSA's Baltimore, Maryland office. Def.'s Mot., Ex. 2. He sought: (1) a copy of an application for benefits filed with the Joplin, Missouri field office by his wife on behalf of his children; (2) records pertaining to a payment of fees to his attorney; and (3) copies of the social security disability checks for the months of November and December 2003. Id. The FOIA Officer sent plaintiff a copy of his social security claims folder on August 20, 2004. See id., Ex. 6.*fn1

  Plaintiff received a supplemental response from SSA's FOIA Officer on September 3, 2004. Def.'s Mot., Ex. 7. The letter accompanying the released records explained that all disability checks are issued by the Department of the Treasury, and that SSA does not maintain copies of these checks. Id.

  3. Field Office in Durham, North Carolina

  In April 2004, plaintiff addressed a request to the FOIA Officer at SSA's Durham, North Carolina field office. Def.'s Mot., Ex. 3. He sought information on agency policies and procedures and other regards regarding SSA's "decision to deny payment of [plaintiff's] back pay" allegedly owed for the period beginning November 1, 2003. Id. On April 29, 2004, plaintiff sent a letter to that same office purporting to appeal the agency's apparent refusal to comply with his FOIA request. Id., Ex. 4. Defendant's counsel represented that the Durham office did not receive a copy of plaintiff's correspondence.*fn2 Def.'s Mot. at 3.

  4. Office of Hearings and Appeals in Falls Church, Virginia

  On May 3, 2004, plaintiff addressed a FOIA request to the FOIA Officer at SSA's Office of Hearings and Appeals, Attorney Fees Branch, in Falls Church, Virginia. Def.'s Mot., Ex. 5. Generally, he sought agency directives, policy manuals, and other materials regarding plaintiff's request for payment of attorney fees. Id. Defendant's counsel represented that the agency searched for responsive records and that no such records exist.*fn3 Def.'s Mot. at 4. B. Claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act

  Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint also raises a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"). He alleges that he submitted a "Form 95 Tort Claim" to SSA's Office of General Counsel on March 30, 2004. Second Amd. ...


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