Bellinsky v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 10

ORDER granting 9 Motion to Extend Time to Answer Complaint and to file Certified Administrative Record. Andrew Saul answer/eCAR due 4/19/2021. Signed by Magistrate Judge Brenda Weksler on 2/16/2021. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - DRS)

Download PDF
Case 2:20-cv-01734-BNW Document 10 Filed 02/08/21 Page 1 of 5 Case 2:20-cv-01734-BNW Document 9 Filed 02/16/21 Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 NICHOLAS A. TRUTANICH United States Attorney District of Nevada 6 ALLISON J. CHEUNG, CSBN 244651 Special Assistant United States Attorney 160 Spear Street, Suite 800 San Francisco, California 94105 Telephone: (415) 977-8942 Facsimile: (415) 744-0134 E-Mail: 7 Attorneys for Defendant 4 5 8 9 10 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 12 JUSTINE BELLINSKY, 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Plaintiff, vs. ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No.: 2:20-cv-01734-BNW UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE CERTIFIED ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD AND ANSWER; DECLARATIONS OF JEBBY RASPUTNIS AND CHRISTIANNE VOEGELE (SECOND REQUEST) Case 2:20-cv-01734-BNW Document 10 Filed 02/08/21 Page 2 of 5 Case 2:20-cv-01734-BNW Document 9 Filed 02/16/21 Page 2 of 4 1 Defendant, Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security (the “Commissioner”), by and through 2 his undersigned attorneys, hereby moves for a sixty-day extension of time to file the Certified 3 Administrative Record (CAR) and answer to Plaintiff’s Complaint. The CAR and answer to Plaintiff’s 4 Complaint are due to be filed by February 16, 2021. This is the Commissioner’s second request for an 5 extension. The following provides the Court with an updated status of the agency’s ability to prepare 6 CARs, including an updated declaration from Jebby Rasputnis. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Social Security Administration (“SSA” or the “Agency”) has taken the unprecedented step of suspending in-office services to the public: The Agency is focusing on providing the most critical services by mail, phone and online to those most in need. SSA is also taking additional steps to protect its employees and help stop the spread of COVID-19, maximizing social distancing, including significantly limiting employee access to SSA facilities for health and safety only and has moved toward a temporary virtual work environment. Electronic processes allow some of SSA’s most critical work to continue with minimal interruption; other workloads have been suspended until the health crisis abates or the Agency is able to create new electronic business processes. For purposes of this particular case, the public health emergency pandemic has significantly 16 impacted operations in the Social Security Administration’s Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) in 17 Falls Church, Virginia. That office is responsible for physically producing the administrative record that 18 is required to adjudicate the case under Sections 205(g) and (h) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 19 § 405(g) and (h). See SSA Program Operations Manual System GN 03106.025, available at 20 21 As detailed in the attached declarations, beginning March 16, 2020, OAO’s staff members began 22 to telework to protect employee health and prevent further spread of COVID-19. At that time, critical in- 23 person physical tasks associated with preparing the administrative record could not be accomplished. For 24 example, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, to safeguard Personally Identifiable Information (PII), all 25 hearing recordings, which are part of the administrative record, were downloaded onto compact discs and 26 encrypted. OAO securely routed the encrypted discs to a private contractor through a daily pickup and Unopposed Mot. for Ext.; 2:20-cv-01734-BNW 1 Case 2:20-cv-01734-BNW Document 10 Filed 02/08/21 Page 3 of 5 Case 2:20-cv-01734-BNW Document 9 Filed 02/16/21 Page 3 of 4 1 delivery service at the Official Duty Station (ODS) in Falls Church, Virginia. The private contractor 2 would transcribe the hearing recording and send the paper copy of the hearing transcript back to OAO. 3 OAO personnel would then scan the hearing transcript into the electronic record or place the hearing 4 transcript in the paper case file. Thereafter, OAO personnel would assemble the administrative record in 5 a prescribed order. To ensure a continuity of operations, OAO has been actively pursuing mitigation efforts to allow 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 the remote preparation of administrative records. For cases in which the private contractors were already in possession of hearing recordings for transcription, with the assistance of the Office of Acquisitions and Grants (OAG), OAO received approval to receive these transcripts from the private contractors via secured email, e.g., using password protection and redacted Social Security Numbers. In April 2020, OAO began receiving such hearing transcripts from private contractors via secured email. For cases in which OAO had not yet submitted recordings to the private contractors before March 16, 2020, OAO has been pursuing all available options to obtain transcriptions for these cases. In May 2020, OAO began encrypting hearing recordings and securely emailing them to the contractors for transcription. Through the month of May, OAO and the contractors worked to resolve technical issues that arose, particularly with large files. The process is functioning now, albeit at only half of normal productivity. 17 18 Given the volume of pending cases, Defendant requests an extension in which to respond to the Complaint until April 19, 2021. 19 20 On February 8, 2021, the undersigned conferred with Plaintiff’s counsel, who has no opposition to the requested extension. It is therefore respectfully requested that Defendant be granted an extension of time to file the CAR 21 22 and answer to Plaintiff’s Complaint, through and including April 19, 2021. 23 // 24 // 25 // 26 // Unopposed Mot. for Ext.; 2:20-cv-01734-BNW 2 Case 2:20-cv-01734-BNW Document 10 Filed 02/08/21 Page 4 of 5 Case 2:20-cv-01734-BNW Document 9 Filed 02/16/21 Page 4 of 4 1 Dated: February 8, 2021 NICHOLAS A. TRUTANICH United States Attorney 2 3 /s/ Allison J. Cheung ALLISON J. CHEUNG Special Assistant United States Attorney 4 5 6 7 8 9 IT IS SO ORDERED: 10 11 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 12 2/16/2021 DATED: ___________________________ 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Unopposed Mot. for Ext.; 2:20-cv-01734-BNW 3

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?