United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISCHARGING ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE AND MODIFYING
Lisa Marie Ewen proceeds in this Social Security appeal
unrepresented by counsel. On August 30, 2019, I issued an
order to show cause why the case should not be dismissed for
failure to prosecute. Plaintiff had not complied with the
scheduling order and missed the deadline to file the proof of
service for her letter brief. ECF No. 13. On September 25,
2019, plaintiff filed a statement with the court using the
assistance of a non-lawyer, Ms. Underwood. ECF No. 14.
Rule 183(a) prohibits any person appearing without counsel
from having another person appear on her behalf. Plaintiff
may not delegate her duty to appear on her own behalf
“to any other individual.” Local R. 183(a). A
plaintiff must either obtain counsel or appear on her own
behalf. See Id. Therefore, neither Ms. Underwood nor
any other non-lawyer may file documents on behalf of
plaintiff's unrepresented status, and the fact that
plaintiff's filing included her own signed statement, I
will consider her letter to the court. See ECF No. 14 at 3. I
find good cause for plaintiff's failure to prosecute and
hereby discharge my order to show cause.
plaintiff further, I provide clarification on the process
before this court below. Additionally, I extend the briefing
schedule to allow the parties more time to discuss informal
resolution before filing formal briefs with the court.
Opportunity for Informal Resolution
to the scheduling order, within one hundred twenty (120) days
after service of the complaint, defendant is required to
serve a copy of the administrative record on plaintiff and
file the administrative record with the court, which serves
as the answer to the complaint in this proceeding.
the administrative record has been filed, the parties
must try to resolve the case informally. In this
process, the parties must exchange informal briefs in the
form of letters about the case to see if they can agree that
the case should be sent back, or “remanded, ” to
the Social Security Administration for a further hearing by
an administrative law judge.
letter brief, plaintiff must briefly set forth (1) the issues
in the case, (2) the reasons why plaintiff thinks that
plaintiff is disabled, and (3) why the decision that
plaintiff was not disabled should be remanded.
letter brief must be marked “Confidential Letter Brief,
” should not be filed with the court, and must be
served on defendant within thirty (30) days from the date
defendant served plaintiff with the administrative record, by
mailing copies to all the attorneys listed on the court
docket as representing defendant, Commissioner of Social
Security, at the addresses noted on the court docket.
confidential letter brief must be served on plaintiff no
later than thirty-five (35) days after defendant is served
with plaintiff's confidential letter brief.
parties agree to a remand, then the case will go back to the
Social Security Administration before any formal briefs are
filed with the court, and without the court ever considering
the merits of the case. The parties' agreement to remand
the case must be set forth in writing in a document titled
“Stipulation and Order, ” which must be signed
and filed with the court no later than fifteen (15) days
after defendant served its confidential letter brief on
plaintiff. See Local Rule 143(a)(1) & (b).
informal letter briefs exchanged by the parties are
confidential in the sense that they are not filed with the
court. If the parties are unable to agree to a remand, the
letters are not part of the case file and, thus, are not
before the court if the court finally considers the case on
appears from the docket that the parties have not served each
other with letter briefs. Therefore, I will give plaintiff
thirty days to serve defendant with her letter brief and file
a proof of service with the court. The contact ...