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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13487
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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I red Dr Bill LaTour on the advise of one of my Dr.s and

Customer Question

I hired Dr Bill LaTour on the advise of one of my Dr.s and after I signed all the paper work they do not respond to my questions
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. What question do you have? How can I assist you?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I hired Bill LaTour over a year ago when I recieved my deniaI. They have never answered the following questions I sent to them .... The information the ODAR has is over a year old, do I update them or will your office summit the paperwork? I have not seen
my file to understand why I was denied, how do I go about receiving a copy? Do I need to file a form SSA1696U4 Appointment of Representative? What are the next steps and what shall I expect? What else can I do to assist my case? Dr. Iskenderian referred me
to your office do you need a letter of impairment from him? I recieve the date of my court date tomarrow. They havent worked up my case at all! Im in California. I have re occuring intermediate sarcoma, Sjorgons disease , chronic pain fatigue, nurapathy, loss
of hearing and use of my arm, depression The Phych that the SS sent me to agreed that I needed to be on disability. The Dr, SS sent me to had never heard of aggressive fibromatosis
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

I am unable to further assist you in this matter, and I am going to opt out of your question and open this up for other professionals.

Your question is being placed back in the question list for other professionals to see, and to respond to. You do not have to stay online for the question to be active. Should another professional pick it up, you should be alerted by email unless you actively disable this feature.

There is no need for you to reply at this time as this may "lock" your question back to me, thus inadvertently delaying other professionals' access to it.

I apologize for any inconvenience and wish you well in your future.


Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Good morning, I am so sorry to hear about your unsatisfactory representation. You indicate they haven't worked up your case at all, but you also indicate that you have not SEEN your file. So it is not clear to me how you would surmise what there has been no work up (1) Can you clarify? And (2) are you looking to get a new lawyer and asking me how to go about doing that?

Let me know! I am happy to assist.


Stephanie Joy

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I filed my original disability papers. I hired Dr. LaTour after my denial. I have not seen why I was denied
2. How can I get my lawer to respond to my questions and can I fire them for not doing anything ?
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Hi again, welcome back. OK, you can find out the reason for your denial in the denial letter that the SSA sent you. When it sounds insulting or incorrect, try not to be too worried, because those letters usually use standard canned language.

Now, you may want to urge your lawyer, in writing, to respond to your messages left - and consider documenting when you called and left messages that were not responded to. Explain to him that you have asked XYZ questions, you still have them because no one has responded, and mail it certified r.r.r. They may take it seriously once they realize you are documenting the lack of communication. Lack of communication is one of the more common ethical charges against lawyers, and I am sure they don't wish to be accused of that.

You mention ODAR, so it appears you are waiting for a hearing. You should have gotten a letter from ODAR when you first appealed, acknowledging your request for appeal. If there is a "cc: LaTour", then you know that Bill is noted as being your attorney for this appeal, which means you signed and he submitted a 1696 already. Several weeks or a few months before being scheduled for hearing, you should receive another letter from ODAR, tell you your file is ready for review as all evidence has been exhibited. You can call the number on those letters and ask the ODAR to send you a CD disc of your file. Then you will know what is in your file. You can also see in that if Bill submitted a 1696.

If you decide you must terminate the relationships with that law office, I suggest you make sure you have another lawyer on board first. It can be hard to get another attorney because the second attorney will have to share the legal fee with Bill unless Bill withdraws AND waives fee. Most attorneys, while they will withdraw, will not waive fee. Some latter attorneys won't take a case if they know that they are going to have to share an otherwise already very discounted legal bill. However, some of us do accept them, so you just need to find one who does. If you do change attorneys, you want to let Bill's office know, so they don't continue to put more work into your case, which they will seek fee on should you later prevail on your case.

In the meantime, as you decide whether to keep Bill or terminate and get another attorney (get another attorney FIRST, then terminate), you will want to continue being VERY diligent as to your medical treatment for ALL impairments, generally. You want to tell your doctors all of you complaints, and how your impairments are affecting your day to day activities. You want to keep Bill advised of ALL treatment. If you are unsure if he is getting your messages, or to otherwise protect yourself, communicate to him in writing with some sort of proof of receipt. Note that the Judge does NOT review your case until right before your hearing, so while we SEND in the medical records once we get the updates right before hearing (unless you wish to pay for more frequent ordering, which is entirely up to you, your budget, etc.), they just sit there for many months. But the lawyer is likely putting together a case theory, pre hearing brief or memo, etc., which changes and evolves based on changing facts and evidence, as the months go along. Almost everything the lawyer does during this 1-2 year wait for ALJ hearing is quietly behind the scenes, so you will be unaware.

You may also wish to reread your contract with Bill, to see if you have any obligations you may be unaware of, just to make sure you are doing your part.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions.

Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To Stephanie O Joy Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.

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