Caughorn v. Social Security Administration Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER awarding plaintiff $7175.10 pursuant to the EAJA, 28USC2412. Signed by Honorable James R. Marschewski on May 28, 2014. (rw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
FORT SMITH DIVISION
JANICE R. CAUGHORN
CIVIL NO. 13-2051
CAROLYN W. COLVIN1, Commissioner
Social Security Administration
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Pending now before this Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorney Fees Under the Equal
Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”). ECF No. 17. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of
a magistrate judge to conduct any and all proceedings in this case, and pursuant to said authority,
the Court issues this Order. ECF No. 7.
On May 21, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for attorney’s fees and costs under 28 U.S.C. §
2412, the Equal Access to Justice Act (hereinafter “EAJA”) requesting $7,175.10 representing a
total of 27.60 attorney hours for work performed in 2013 at an hourly rate of $183.00, 1.30
attorney hours for work performed in 2014 at a rate of $186.00 per hour, and 25.10 paralegal hours
at an hourly rate of $75.00. ECF No. 17, 18. On May 21, 2014, the Defendant filed a response
voicing no objections to Plaintiff’s request for fees. ECF No. 19.
It is the opinion of the undersigned that the Plaintiff is entitled to a fee award in this case,
as she is the prevailing party, the government’s decision to deny benefits was not “substantially
justified”, the hourly rate requested for both attorney and paralegal hours does not exceed the CPI
for either year in question, and the time asserted to have been spent in the representation of the
Plaintiff before the district court is reasonable. See Jackson v. Bowen, 807 F.2d 127, 128 (8th Cir.
Carolyn W. Colvin became the Social Security Commissioner on February 14, 2013. Pursuant to Rule
25(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Carolyn W. Colvin has been substituted for Commissioner
Michael J. Astrue as the defendant in this suit.
1986) (burden is on the Commissioner to show substantial justification for the government’s denial
of benefits); Johnson v. Sullivan, 919 F.2d 503 (8th Cir. 1990) (the hourly rate may be increased
when there is “uncontested proof of an increase in the cost of living sufficient to justify hourly
attorney’s fees of more than $75.00 an hour); and Allen v. Heckler, 588 F.Supp. 1247 (W.D.N.Y.
1984) (in determining reasonableness, court looks at time and labor required; the difficulty of
questions involved; the skill required to handle the problems presented; the attorney's experience,
ability, and reputation; the benefits resulting to the client from the services; the customary fee for
similar services; the contingency or certainty of compensation; the results obtained; and, the
amount involved). Accordingly, Plaintiff is entitled to an attorney’s fee award under EAJA in the
amount of $7,175.10.
Pursuant to Astrue v. Ratliff, 130 S.Ct. 2521, 2528 (2010), the EAJA fee award should be
made payable to Plaintiff. However, as a matter of practice, an EAJA fee made payable to Plaintiff
may properly be mailed to Plaintiff’s counsel.
The parties should be reminded that the award herein under the EAJA will be taken into
account at such time as a reasonable fee is determined pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406, in order to
prevent double recovery by counsel for the Plaintiff.
Based upon the foregoing, I award Plaintiff $7,175.10 pursuant to the EAJA, 28 U.S.C. §
Dated this 28th day of May 2014.
/s/ J. Marschewski
HON. JAMES R. MARSCHEWSKI
CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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