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Reed v. Commissioner of Social Security

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


October 7, 2010

LETICIA-TYSHALLE REED, ON BEHALF OF HER SON TYREE BENNETT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

On September 22, 2010, plaintiff, proceeding without counsel, filed a complaint challenging the Administrative Law Judge's decision in an underlying social security administrative proceeding. (Dkt. No. 1.) Presently before the court is plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis, or without payment of costs. (Dkt. No. 2.)

Plaintiff purports to bring this action on behalf of her minor son, Tyree Bennett. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has plainly held that "a parent or guardian cannot bring an action on behalf of a minor child without retaining a lawyer." Johns v. County of San Diego, 114 F.3d 874, 877 (9th Cir. 1997); accord Lin v. Ashcroft, 377 F.3d 1014, 1025 (9th Cir. 2004). The rationale for this rule is a protective one, and the Court of Appeals has stated that where minors "have claims that require adjudication, they are entitled to trained legal assistance so their rights may be fully protected." Johns, 114 F.3d at 877.

Accordingly, plaintiff Leticia-Tyshalle Reed may not represent her minor son in this action without counsel. Thus, the undersigned will grant plaintiff 30 days from the date of this order to retain legal representation for Tyree Bennett, if she so chooses. Failure to retain a licensed attorney to represent the minor plaintiff will result in a recommendation that this action be dismissed without prejudice.

Accordingly, it is HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff Leticia-Tyshalle Reed may not represent the minor in this action and must instead retain a lawyer to represent him. Plaintiff shall have 30 days from the date of this order to retain legal representation for Tyree Bennett or this action will be dismissed without prejudice;*fn1 and

2. Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis (Dkt. No. 2.) is DENIED without prejudice.


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