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Chizoma C. Njoku v. Michael J. Astrue

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


March 4, 2011

CHIZOMA C. NJOKU,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING STIPULATION TO EXTEND BRIEFING SCHEDULE

On March 3, 2011, the parties filed a Stipulation to Extend Briefing Schedule in this matter, wherein Plaintiff seeks an extension of time through and including March 11, 2011, within which to file an opening brief. Defendant would then have until April 11, 2011, within which to file an opposition; any reply brief would be due on or before April 25, 2011. (Doc. 14.)

Notably missing however from the parties' stipulation is any acknowledgment of, nor explanation for, Plaintiff having already missed the deadline for the filing of an opening brief. In fact, the parties' previous stipulation to extend the deadlines in this case called for Plaintiff to file an opening brief no later than February 28, 2011. (See Docs. 12-13.) Yet, despite Plaintiff having missed the deadline three days prior, the parties' most recent stipulation offers the very same justification for the requested extension. (Cf. Doc. 12 at 2 to Doc. 14 at 2 ["An extension of time is needed in order to properly address the complex issues within the 663 page administrative record in this matter. Counsel sincerely apologizes to the court for any inconvenience this may have had upon it or its staff"].)

This Court has noted an increasing number of missed deadlines in its Social Security caseload. In particular however, the Court has previously expressed concern to other attorneys associated with Plaintiff's counsel's firm regarding this pattern. Notwithstanding the necessity of the Court to issue orders to show cause for missed deadlines in these and other cases, the Court is also increasingly concerned when a party or parties choose(s) to ignore the fact that the relevant deadline has already passed. The parties are hereby ADMONISHED that any future stipulation for an extension of time, wherein the relevant deadline has already passed, SHALL specifically address that fact and explain the reason or reasons for the delay. Finally, the parties are directed to Local Rule 144(d) and its requirement that an extension be sought "as soon as the need for an extension becomes apparent." The Court questions how, in light of the "complex issues within the 663 page" record, the parties were not aware of the need for an extension well in advance of the missed February 28, 2011, deadline.

The parties' stipulation is adopted as follows:

1. Plaintiff shall have an extension of time to and including March 11, 2011, nunc pro tunc, within which to file an opening brief;

2. Defendant shall file an opposition brief no later than April 11, 2011; and

3. Plaintiff shall file any reply no later than April 25, 2011.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

6i0kij

20110304

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