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Angelique Muhammad v. Little Company of Mary Hospital

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION


February 16, 2012

ANGELIQUE MUHAMMAD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LITTLE COMPANY OF MARY HOSPITAL, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

This action charging employment discrimination on the part of Little Company of Mary Hospital was initially filed pro se by Angelique Muhammad ("Muhammad"). Because Muhammad qualified for in forma pauperis treatment and also for the appointment of pro bono counsel to represent her (and not incidentally, because everyone involved--plaintiff, defendant and this Court--are better served when there are lawyers on both sides of the "v." sign), this Court obtained the name of trial bar member Nathan Lichtenstein and appointed him to represent Muhammad.

At the December 16, 2011 status hearing in the case, counsel for the parties expressed their mutual interest in proceeding to a settlement conference before Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys, and this Court entered an order of reference to Judge Keys for that purpose. Now, however, counsel have jointly filed a status report that states in part:

Despite numerous attempts to contact the Plaintiff, Plaintiff's counsel has been unable to reach the Plaintiff.

Just as counsel (whether retained or appointed) has an obligation to remain in touch with his or her own client, and attorney Lichtenstein has obviously sought to do that, the client who wishes to pursue his or her claim has a correlative obligation to maintain contact with his or her lawyer. Although it is a bit unclear, from the language quoted above, just how Muhammad seems to have dropped out of sight, if attorney Lichtenstein remains unable to reach her before the scheduled March 6 status hearing this Court contemplates a probable dismissal of the action for want of prosecution.

20120216

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