Stovall v. Social Security Administration

Filing 26

ORDER granting 24 Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney Fees & expenses in the amount of $5,696.28. The Court requests that Plaintiff's counsel, w/i 21 days of date of entry of this Order, file a supplemental reply addressing whether a co ntract exists in which Plaintiff has assigned his rights to attorney fees to his counsel & attaching any such contract. Defendant's counsel shall have 21 days after Plaintiff's supplemental reply to file a supplemental response. Plaintiff 's counsel will have 14 days to file a second supplemental reply addressing any issues raised in the government's supplemental response. Plaintiff's counsel is directed to immediately provide Plaintiff with a copy of this Order & all pleadings filed by the parties in response to this Order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Beth Deere on 11/3/2010. (jct)

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Stovall v. Social Security Administration Doc. 26 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT E A S T E R N DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS J O N E S B O R O DIVISION C H A R L E S SCOTT STOVALL V. CASE NO.: 3:08CV00175 BD PLAINTIFF M I C H A E L J. ASTRUE, Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT ORDER P e n d in g is Plaintiff's Motion for an Award of Attorney's Fees under the Equal A c c e ss to Justice Act ("EAJA"), 28 U.S.C. 2412 (docket entry #24). In her motion, P la in tif f requests fees and expenses in the amount of $5,696.28. The Commissioner does n o t object to the amount requested. (#25 at p. 1) Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion is G RA N TED . P la in tif f 's counsel has not attached to his brief in support of the motion any c o n tra c t he entered into with Plaintiff assigning his right to any EAJA fees and costs a w a rd e d in his case to his counsel. Defendant contends that under Astrue v. Ratliff, --U .S . ----, 130 S.Ct. 2521, 2527, 2010 WL 2346547 (2010), any check awarding fees and c o s ts under the EAJA should be made payable to Plaintiff, but states in his brief that "[a]s a practical matter, the Commissioner can issue the actual payment of any EAJA fees to P la in tif f 's attorney if Plaintiff signed a valid assignment of attorney fees to his attorney a n d Plaintiff owes no debt to the U.S. Government, which the U.S. Department of 1 Dockets.Justia.com Treasury will verify for the undersigned once the Court issues its Order on Plaintiff's E A J A Petition." (#25 at p. 2) Accordingly, the Court requests that Plaintiff's counsel, within twenty-one days of th e date of the entry of this order, file a supplemental reply addressing whether a contract e x is ts in which Plaintiff has assigned his rights to attorney fees to his counsel and a tta c h in g any such contract. Defendant's counsel shall have twenty-one days after Plaintiff files a supplemental re p ly to file a supplemental response stating: (1) whether he contests the validity of the a s s ig n m e n t contract between Plaintiff and his attorney; (2) whether Plaintiff owes the f e d e ra l government a debt; and (3) if Plaintiff owes the federal government a debt, the a m o u n t of that debt and whether the government intends to pursue an administrative o f f s e t against the EAJA award. P la in tif f 's counsel will have fourteen days to file a second, supplemental reply a d d re s s in g any issues raised in the supplemental response. Plaintiff is an interested party b e c a u s e if the Commissioner succeeds in challenging the validity of the assignment, he m a y be entitled to receive the EAJA attorney's fees and expenses. Accordingly, P la in tif f 's counsel is directed to immediately provide Plaintiff with a copy of this order a n d all pleadings filed by the parties in response to this order. 2 IT IS SO ORDERED this 3rd day of November, 2010. ___________________________________ U N IT E D STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 3

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