(SS) Valero v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 18

ORDER GRANTING Award and Payment of Attorneys Fees Under the Equal Access to Justice Act re 17 signed by Magistrate Judge Helena M. Barch-Kuchta on 7/3/2024. (Lawrence, A)

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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 ALFONSO VALERO, 12 Plaintiff, 13 v. 14 KILOLO KIJAKAZI, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, 15 16 Case No. 1:24-cv-00058-HBK ORDER GRANTING AWARD AND PAYMENT OF ATTORNEYS FEES UNDER THE EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT1 (Doc. No. 17) Defendant. 17 Pending before the Court is Plaintiff’s stipulated motion for attorney fees filed on July 2, 18 19 2024. (Doc. No. 17). Plaintiff requests an award attorney’s fees and expenses to Plaintiff’s 20 attorney, Law Offices of Lawrence D. Rohlfing, Inc., CPC, in the amount of $3,450.00 pursuant 21 to the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412. (Id.). The Commissioner agrees 22 to the fees requested. (Doc. No. 17 at 3). 23 On May 13, 2024, this Court granted the Parties’ stipulated motion to remand this case 24 pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to the Commissioner for further administrative 25 proceedings. (Doc. No. 15). Judgment was entered the same day. (Doc. No. 16). Plaintiff now 26 requests an award of fees as the prevailing party. See 28 U.S.C. § 2412(a) & (d)(1)(A); Fed. R. 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.6). 1 Civ. P. 54(d)(1); see 28 U.S.C. § 1920; cf. Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292, 300-02 (1993) 2 (concluding that a party who wins a sentence-four remand order under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is a 3 prevailing party). 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 $3,450.00 in EAJA fees for 15.08 hours of attorney time. 12 (Doc. No. 17-1). The Court finds an award of $3,450.00 is appropriate. EAJA fees, expenses, 13 and costs are subject to any offsets allowed under the Treasury Offset Program (“TOP”), as 14 discussed in Astrue v. Ratliff, 532 U.S. 1192 (2010). If the Commissioner determines upon 15 effectuation of this Order that Plaintiff’s EAJA fees are not subject to any offset allowed under 16 the TOP, the fees shall be delivered or otherwise transmitted to Plaintiff’s counsel. 17 Accordingly, it is ORDERED: 18 1. Plaintiff’s stipulated motion for attorney fees and expenses (Doc. No. 17) is 19 GRANTED. 20 2. The Commissioner is directed to pay to Plaintiff as the prevailing party EAJA fees in 21 the amount of $3,450.00 in attorney fees. Unless the Department of Treasury determines that 22 Plaintiff owes a federal debt, the government shall make payment of the fees to Plaintiff’s 23 counsel, Law Offices of Lawrence D. Rohlfing, Inc., CPC, in accordance with Plaintiff’s 24 assignment of fees. 25 26 Dated: July 3, 2024 HELENA M. BARCH-KUCHTA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 27 28 2

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