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Robert V. Bustos v. Michael J. Astrue

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


January 25, 2012

ROBERT V. BUSTOS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.

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

ORDER & ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

Presently before the court is a stipulation and proposed order filed on January 18, 2012, which seeks a continuance of the deadline for plaintiff to file his motion for summary judgment or remand from January 17, 2012, to March 2, 2012 (Dkt. No. 16). Plaintiff's counsel's excuse is once again her "impacted briefing schedule." The undersigned approves the stipulation despite the fact that plaintiff's counsel filed it after plaintiff's initial deadline to file his motion and in violation of Local Rule 144(d) and the court's order.

However, the undersigned orders plaintiff's counsel, Bess M. Brewer, to show cause in writing why she should not be sanctioned $2,500 for her constant inability, at least in cases before the undersigned, to timely file motions for summary judgment or requests for extensions of deadlines. Ms. Brewer, an officer of this court, is an attorney who regularly appears before the undersigned and all too regularly seeks extensions of time based on her "impacted briefing schedule." Such an excuse is wholly inappropriate, especially when the undersigned has specifically and repeatedly warned Ms. Brewer of the inadequacy of that excuse; Ms. Brewer has come to abuse the privilege of seeking extensions of time.

The undersigned previously ordered Ms. Brewer to appear and address her failure to timely prosecute her clients' cases and to follow the court's orders and Local Rules. (Ortiz v. Astrue, No. 2:09-cv-02641 KJN (E.D. Cal.), Order, Aug. 9, 2010, Dkt. No. 25.) During that hearing, it was noted that the reason for Ms. Brewer's "impacted briefing schedule" might very well be that she is taking on more cases than she can actually handle. Despite Ms. Brewer's contrition on that occasion, her court appearance, which did not result in the imposition of monetary sanctions, seems to have had no impact on Ms. Brewer's approach to accepting cases. In Ortiz, the undersigned warned Ms. Brewer at the hearing and in the order discharging the order to show cause that: "her future failures to comply with the court's orders will result in the imposition of sanctions, monetary or otherwise, and those sanctions will be significant in the first instance."

Ms. Brewer appears to be falling behind in her cases again, having recently filed several requests for extensions, most of which were late-filed. (See, e.g., Pacheco v. Astrue, No. 2:10-cv-1733 KJN (E.D. Cal.) (seeking two extensions); Duong v. Astrue, No. 2:11-cv-00347 KJN (E.D. Cal.) (seeking two extensions); Carson v. Astrue, No. 2:11-cv-0632 KJN (E.D. Cal.) (seeking two extensions); Feltis v. Astrue, No. 2:11-cv-0723 KJN (E.D. Cal.) (seeking two extensions); Juarez v. Astrue, No. 2:11-cv-0748 KJN (E.D. Cal.) (seeking two extensions).) Nearly all of these requests were inadequately and inappropriately premised on Ms. Brewer's "impacted briefing schedule." At this point, Ms. Brewer has left the undersigned with no options other than to heavily sanction Ms. Brewer, refer her to the California State Bar, or dismiss her clients' cases; the undersigned would prefer not to force Ms. Brewer's clients to suffer dismissals for Ms. Brewer's ongoing failures.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. The parties' stipulation (Dkt. No. 16) is approved, and plaintiff shall have until March 2, 2011, to file a motion for summary judgment or remand.

2. The scheduling order in this case is amended accordingly. 3. On or before February 10, 2012, plaintiff's counsel, Bess M. Brewer, shall show good cause in writing why she should not be sanctioned in an amount of $2,500, for her ongoing failures to timely prosecute her clients' cases and follow the court's local rules and orders.

4. Ms. Brewer shall appear before the undersigned in regards to this order to show cause on February 23, 2012, at 10:00 a.m.

5. Neither plaintiff nor defendant's counsel need appear at the February 23, 2012 show cause hearing.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20120125

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