Butler v. Astrue

Filing 30

ORDER granting 27 Motion for Attorney Fees. Plaintiff is awarded $5924.09 in attorneys' fees and $350 in costs. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 3/17/2011.(NVO)

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Butler v. Astrue Doc. 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 WO IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA Michelle D. Butler, Plaintiff, vs. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant. 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. CV-09-2536-PHX-DGC ORDER Plaintiff requests costs and attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA"). Doc. 27. Defendant opposes on grounds that the government's position was substantially justified.1 Doc. 28. The motion has been fully briefed and the parties have not requested oral argument. Docs. 27-29. The EAJA entitles a prevailing party to fees and other expenses "unless the court finds that the position of the United States was substantially justified." 28 U.S.C. 2412(d)(1)(A). A position is substantially justified if it has a reasonable basis in law and fact. Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 565 (1988); accord Flores v. Shalala, 49 F.3d 562, 569 (9th Cir. 1995). The burden of persuasion is on the non-prevailing party. Flores, 49 F.3d at 569. In reversing Defendant's denial and remanding for an award of benefits, this Court Defendant also asserts that if Plaintiff's motion is granted, fees and costs would be awarded to Plaintiff not to Plaintiff's counsel (Doc. 28), an assertion that is not in dispute (Doc. 29). 1 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 held that Defendant's decision was "rife with error and unsupported conclusions," and further held that "it is clear that the ALJ would be required to find Plaintiff disabled." Doc. 24 at 2, 8. In light of this holding, the Court concludes that Defendant's position was not substantially justified. Because Defendant does not challenge the requested amount and the Court does not find it unreasonable, the Court will award the full amount requested by Plaintiff in its motion and reply. IT IS ORDERED: 1. 2. Plaintiff's motion for costs and attorney fees (Doc. 27) is granted. Plaintiff is awarded $5,924.09 in attorneys' fees and $350 in costs, for a total of $6,274.09. DATED this 17th day of March, 2011. -2-

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