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Marisol Flores v. Michael J. Astrue

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


June 1, 2011

MARISOL FLORES,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING COUNSEL'S MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL OF RECORD (Document 15) ORDER EXTENDING DEADLINES

Attorney Lawrence D. Rohlfing filed the instant motion to withdraw as counsel for Plaintiff Marisol Flores ("Plaintiff") on May 4, 2011. The matter was addressed on May 27, 2011, before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. Counsel for the parties contacted the Court, but Plaintiff did not. Plaintiff also did not appear for the scheduled hearing.

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff filed this action challenging the Commissioner's denial of social security benefits on October 22, 2010. Defendant lodged the administrative record on February 28, 2011. Plaintiff's opening brief is due on or about June 6, 2011.

On May 4, 2011, Plaintiff's counsel, Lawrence D. Rohlfing, of the Law Offices of Lawrence D. Rohlfing, filed the instant motion to withdraw as attorney of record.

According to counsel's declaration, he wrote three confidential letters to Plaintiff on September 24, October 12 and October 13, 2010. He provided her status on November 1, 2010. Thereafter, he wrote to her on March 28, April 7, April 19 and April 26, 2011. Plaintiff has not responded to any of the letters and the postal service only returned the April 7 letter. On April 26, 2011, counsel's staff called Plaintiff, but the number was disconnected. On May 4, 2011, counsel spoke with the Law Office of Melissa Proudian, who both previously represented Plaintiff and currently represents Plaintiff on another claim. Ms. Proudian's office provided three other possible contact numbers. Counsel called Plaintiff's original number and the three other numbers. Two of the numbers were disconnected or no longer in service. Parties answering the other two numbers disclaimed knowledge of Plaintiff. Declaration of Lawrence Rohlfing ¶¶ 2-5. Counsel contends that there has been a breakdown of the relationship with Plaintiff. He seeks leave to withdraw from representation. He also requests an extension of time to transfer records to Plaintiff.

Plaintiff has not filed any objection to the withdrawal and did not appear for the hearing. Accordingly, counsel's motion is GRANTED and Plaintiff is SUBSTITUTED in as counsel in pro se. Her address is 605 N. Popular Avenue, Fresno, California 93728. The dates set forth in the October 25, 2010, Scheduling Order are extended 45 days to allow Plaintiff to find new counsel, continue the action in pro se, or dismiss the action. Plaintiff's opening brief shall be filed and served on or before July 21, 2011.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20110601

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