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Lawrence v. Astrue

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


April 14, 2010

RICHARD LAWRENCE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISCHARGING ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY SANCTIONS SHOULD NOT BE IMPOSED FOR FAILURE TO FILE AN OPENING BRIEF (Doc. 18) ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S COUNSEL'S REQUEST TO WITHDRAW FROM THIS ACTION (Doc. 20) ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF AN EXTENSION OF TIME UNTIL JUNE 2, 2010 TO FILE AN OPENING BRIEF

(Doc. 21)

Plaintiff Richard Lawrence ("Plaintiff") seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying his application for Supplemental Security Income benefits pursuant to Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1), and the matter has been assigned to the Magistrate Judge to conduct all further proceedings in this case, including entry of final judgment.

Pending before the Court are Plaintiff's counsel's motion to withdraw (Doc. 20), request to vacate the Order to Show Cause (Doc. 19), and stipulation for additional time for Plaintiff to file an opening brief. (Doc. 21).

1. Background

Plaintiff filed his complaint on May 8, 2009. On May 18, 2009, the Court served Plaintiff with a scheduling order in which the Court ordered that Plaintiff's opening brief was due 95 days after the date of the filing of the administrative record, which was deemed to be the defendant's answer to the complaint. The administrative record was filed on October 20, 2009. Thus, Plaintiff's opening brief was due on January 25, 2010. However, pursuant to a stipulation of the parties, the Court granted Plaintiff until April 2, 2010, to file an opening brief with Defendant's responsive brief due May 3, 2010. (Doc. 17). Plaintiff failed to file an opening brief and on April 7, 2010, the Court issued and Order to Show Cause why sanctions should not be imposed for failing to comply with the Court's order. (Doc. 18).

2. Motion to Withdraw

On April 12, 2010, Plaintiff's counsel, Denise Bourgeois Haley, filed a Motion to Withdraw as Plaintiff's Attorney of Record. (Doc. 20). She asserts that the attorney-client relationship has deteriorated and that she cannot proceed as attorney of record. (Id. at 1). In a declaration filed in support, counsel states that despite her repeated attempts to contact Plaintiff he has failed to respond. (Id. at 5). In particular, she states that phone numbers given to her by him do not work or receive calls. (Id. at 5-6). She states she has not had any communication with Plaintiff since April 1, 2009. (Id. at 5). Counsel further states that her opinion of the case "is counter to Richard Lawrence's desires." (Id. at 6). Therefore, she asks that she be relieved as attorney of record and that Plaintiff proceed either pro se or hire new counsel. (Id. at 1-2).

In light of counsel's representations, her motion to withdraw is granted and Plaintiff will be substituted as counsel pro se. His last no address is 920 E. Washington Ave., Los Banos, CA. 93635.

3. Extension of Time

In light of Plaintiff's counsel's request to withdraw, she and Defendant have filed a stipulation requesting that Plaintiff be granted additional time, until June 2, 2010, to file an opening brief. Pursuant to this stipulation, and in light of Plaintiff's counsel's withdrawal from the case, the stipulation will be granted. For the same reason, the Court will grant Plaintiff's request to discharge the Order to Show Cause.

Accordingly, it is HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff's Counsel's Motion to Withdraw as Attorney of Record (Doc. 20) is GRANTED;

2. The Court's Order to Show Cause (Doc. 18) is DISCHARGED;

3. The Stipulation Permitting Plaintiff until June 2, 2010, to file an opening brief is GRANTED; and

5. The Clerk's Office is DIRECTED to serve a copy of this Order by mail on Plaintiff at his last known address of 920 E. Washington Ave., Los Banos, CA 93635.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20100414

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