(SS)Alvarado v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 28

ORDER GRANTING AWARD AND PAYMENT OF ATTORNEYS FEES UNDER THE EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT, signed by Magistrate Judge Helena M. Barch-Kuchta on 6/3/2024. (Apodaca, P)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ELISEO ALVARADO, 12 Plaintiff, 13 v. MARTIN O’MALLEY, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, 14 15 16 Case No. 1:22-cv-01198-HBK ORDER GRANTING AWARD AND PAYMENT OF ATTORNEYS FEES UNDER THE EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT1 (Doc. No. 25) Defendant. 17 Pending before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees filed on May 8, 2024. 18 19 (Doc. No. 25). Plaintiff requests an award attorney’s fees and expenses to Plaintiff’s attorney, 20 Jonathan O. Peña of Peña & Bromberg, PLC, in the amount of $7,547.32 in attorney fees and 21 expenses, pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412. (Id.). On February 8, 2024, this Court granted Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment and 22 23 remanded the case pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to the Commissioner for 24 further administrative proceedings. (Doc. No. 23). Judgment was entered the same day. (Doc. 25 No. 24). Plaintiff now requests an award of fees as the prevailing party. See 28 U.S.C. § 2412(a) 26 & (d)(1)(A); Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1); see 28 U.S.C. § 1920; cf. Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 27 1 28 Both parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §636(c)(1). (Doc. No. 22). 1 292, 300-02 (1993) (concluding that a party who wins a sentence-four remand order under 42 2 U.S.C. § 405(g) is a prevailing party). The Commissioner filed no opposition to the requested 3 relief, and the deadline for doing so has passed. (See docket). 4 The EAJA provides for an award of attorney fees to private litigants who both prevail in 5 civil actions (other than tort) against the United States and timely file a petition for fees. 28 6 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A). Under the Act, a court shall award attorney fees to the prevailing party 7 unless it finds the government’s position was “substantially justified or that special circumstances 8 make such an award unjust.” Id. Here, the government did not show its position was 9 substantially justified and the Court finds there are not special circumstances that would make an 10 award unjust. 11 Plaintiff requests an award of $7,547.32 in EAJA fees for 31.2 hours of attorney time. 12 (Doc. No. 25-1). The Court finds an award of $7,547.32 in attorney fees and expenses is 13 appropriate. EAJA fees, expenses, and costs are subject to any offsets allowed under the 14 Treasury Offset Program (“TOP”), as discussed in Astrue v. Ratliff, 532 U.S. 1192 (2010). If the 15 Commissioner determines upon effectuation of this Order that Plaintiff’s EAJA fees are not 16 subject to any offset allowed under the TOP, the fees shall be delivered or otherwise transmitted 17 to Plaintiff’s counsel. 18 Accordingly, it is ORDERED: 19 1. Plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees and expenses (Doc. No. 25) is GRANTED. 20 2. The Commissioner is directed to pay to Plaintiff as the prevailing party EAJA fees in 21 the amount of $7,547.32 in attorney fees and expenses. Unless the Department of Treasury 22 determines that Plaintiff owes a federal debt, the government shall make payment of the EAJA 23 fees to Plaintiff’s counsel, Jonathan O. Peña of Peña & Bromberg, PLC, in accordance with 24 Plaintiff’s assignment of fees. 25 26 Dated: June 3, 2024 HELENA M. BARCH-KUCHTA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 27 28 2

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