Lopez v. Astrue

Filing 24

ORDER granting Plaintiff's 21 Motion for Attorney Fees; Plaintiff is awarded attorneys' fees totaling $4,616.30; Plaintiff is awarded $350.00 in costs, to be paid out of the Judgment Fund, as administered by the Department of Justice; all fees and costs shall be paid directly to Plaintiff, Merinda Lopez. Signed by Judge Mary H Murguia on 3/29/11.(REW)

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Lopez v. Astrue Doc. 24 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 WO IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA Merinda M. Lopez, Plaintiff, vs. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. CV 09-1740-PHX-MHM ORDER Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's Application for Attorney's Fees Pursuant to 16 the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA"), 28 U.S.C. 2412(d)(1)(A). (Doc. 21). The 17 Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner") filed a Response, (Doc. 22), and 18 Plaintiff filed a Reply. (Doc. 23). After reviewing the pleadings, the Court issues the 19 following Order. 20 I. 21 On August 21, 2009, Plaintiff sought judicial review of the Commissioner's decision 22 rejecting her disability claim. (Doc. 1). On July 27, 2010, the Court granted the Parties' 23 stipulation to remand the case to the Social Security Administration. (Doc. 19). Plaintiff 24 subsequently filed her motion for attorney's fees on August 26, 2010. (Doc. 21). 25 II. 26 Plaintiff has requested attorney's fees in the amount of $4,616.03 for 26.80 hours of 27 work. In its reply brief, the Commissioner stated that "in the interest of conserving litigation 28 REQUEST FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES BACKGROUND Dockets.Justia.com 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 and judicial resources, he will not oppose Plaintiff's Application for Attorney Fees." (Doc. 22). Accordingly, Plaintiff shall be awarded attorney's fees in the amount of $4,616.03 for 26.80 hours of work.1 III. EAJA AWARD DISBURSEMENT The Commissioner argues that the EAJA award should be disbursed directly to the Plaintiff and not to Plaintiff's counsel. In light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Astrue v. Ratliff, the Court agrees with the Commissioner. 130 S.Ct. 2521, 2529 (2010) (holding that the plain text of the EAJA "`awards fees to the litigant.") Accordingly, the Court will direct the Clerk to pay attorney's fees to the Plaintiff. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's Application for Attorney's Fees Pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act is GRANTED. (Doc. 27). Plaintiff is awarded attorney's fees totaling $4,616.30, resulting from 26.80 attorney hours. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff is awarded $350.00 in costs, to be paid out of the Judgment Fund, as administered by the Department of Justice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all fees and costs shall be paid directly to Plaintiff, Merinda Lopez. DATED this 29th day of March, 2011. Plaintiff is also entitled to an award of costs under the EAJA, 28 U.S.C. 2412(a)(1). The Commissioner does not contest Plaintiff's request for $350.00 in costs. However, costs, unlike expenses, are administered by the Department of Justice. As such, the Court will direct that the $350.00 awarded to the Plaintiff for costs under the EAJA shall be paid out of the Judgment Fund, and not from the Commissioner's funds. -2- 1

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