The Indiana Southern District Court will implement new rules relating to Social Security appeals and indigent defense fee agreements when two amendments take effect on Jan. 1.
The first amendment will create Local Rule 5-12, which will address Social Security appeals. Under subsection (a) of the rule, no service of initial process will be required when a complaint for administrative review of Social Security benefits is filed, unless otherwise noted. Instead, the Social Security Administration will treat notification via the Case Management and Electronic Filing System as service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4.
Further, Rule 5-12(b) will require the administration to respond to a complaint for administrative review within 60 days of receiving notice of the filing. The administration can respond by filing either a motion to dismiss or the certified administrative record.
The court also amended Local Rule 87(f) to allow recruited counsel and the litigant in an indigent representation to negotiate a “fair and reasonable” fee agreement at the beginning of the representation. If that agreement provides for fees, then the attorney must file a Notice of Fee Agreement, which can be an ex parte agreement, within 28 days of executing the agreement. However, fee agreements that include attorney compensation will not be permitted in instances of limited appointment.The full language of the amended orders can be read here.