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HALLEX I-4-180
Office of Hearings and Appeals
Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)
Department of Health and Human Services

Volume I
Division IV: Civil Action
Subject: New Court Cases
Chapter: I-4-100

June 30, 1994

Current through June 1997

I-4-180 ROLE OF OGC and U.S. Attorney

A. Preparation of Initial Response

The OGC Answer Section, co-located with OHA Headquarters, prepares the initial response to complaints filed in district court. The initial response usually consists of an answer to all of the points raised in the complaint and a copy of the certified administrative record. If OCA advises the Answer Section that the Appeals Council believes remand should be sought, the initial response will take the form of a motion for remand which must show "good cause" for seeking remand. The Answer Section also prepares motions to dismiss for failure to exhaust, untimeliness, and res judicata when OCA prepares an affidavit to support such a motion. The Answer Section forwards the suggested initial response to the U.S. Attorney in the district court's jurisdiction for filing with the court.

B. Preparation of Briefs and Other Filings

Following the Secretary's initial response to the complaint, the next step is usually to file a motion for summary judgment and an accompanying brief. In most cases the OGC Regional Offices prepare these materials. Each of the ten HHS Regions has an OGC office headed by the Chief Counsel for that Region. See > I-4-199, Exhibit N, for a map of the HHS Regions and > I-4-199, Exhibit O for a directory of OGC Chief Counsels in the Regions. In some instances, the Social Security Division of OGC in Baltimore prepares the materials. See > I-4-199, Exhibit P for the Social Security Division roster.

Upon completion of the brief, OGC sends it to the appropriate U.S. Attorney for filing with the court. The U.S. Attorney will contact OGC if he or she sees any problems with the brief.

C. Oral Argument

Although most District Courts decide Social Security cases on the basis of the CAR, motions and briefs, some judges and magistrates prefer oral arguments to be made. In these districts, the U.S. Attorney (or one of his or her assistants) and/or an attorney from OGC (either the Region or the Social Security Division) will present oral argument for the Secretary.

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