Mejia v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 29

ORDER granting 27 Motion for Attorney Fees signed by Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan on 11/13/17. $7,087.49 in fees are awarded pursuant to EAJA. (Hinkle, T)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 RUBEN MAJIA, 12 13 14 15 16 No. 2:15-cv-707-EFB Plaintiff, v. ORDER NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant. 17 18 Plaintiff moves for an award of attorney’s fees and costs under the Equal Access to Justice 19 Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1). ECF No. 27. Plaintiff seeks fees in the amount of 20 $7,081.11 based on 1.55 hours of work at the rate of $190.28 for work performed in 2015, and 21 35.4 hours at the rate of $191.70 for work performed in 2016. ECF Nos. 27-1. Plaintiff also 22 seeks $6.38 in costs for mailing documents, for a total award of $7,087.49. Id. 23 The EAJA provides that a prevailing party other than the United States should be awarded 24 fees and other expenses incurred by that party in any civil action brought by or against the United 25 States, “unless the court finds that the position of the United States was substantially justified or 26 that special circumstances make an award unjust directs the court to award a reasonable fee.” 28 27 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1). In determining whether a fee is reasonable, the court considers the hours 28 expended, the reasonable hourly rate, and the results obtained. See Commissioner, INS v. Jean, 1 1 496 U.S. 154 (1990); Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424 (1983); Atkins v. Apfel, 154 F.3d 986 2 (9th Cir. 1998). “[E]xcessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary” hours should be excluded 3 from a fee award, and charges that are not properly billable to a client are not properly billable to 4 the government. Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434. 5 Plaintiff was the prevailing party in this action. See ECF No. 25. Furthermore, the 6 government has failed to show that its position was substantially justified. See Gutierrez v. 7 Barnhart, 274 F.3d 1255, 1258 (9th Cir. 2001) (the burden of establishing substantial justification 8 is on the government). Although the Commissioner was directed to file an opposition or 9 statement of non-opposition to plaintiff’s motion for EAJA fees (ECF No. 28), no response was 10 11 12 filed. Thus, plaintiff’s motion is unopposed. The court has independently reviewed the record and finds that both the hourly rate and hours expended are reasonable in light of the results obtained. 13 Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that: 14 1. Plaintiff’s motion for attorney’s fees (ECF No. 27) is granted; 15 2. Plaintiff is awarded attorney’s fees and costs under the EAJA in the amount of 16 $7,087.49; and 17 3. Pursuant to Astrue v. Ratliff, 560 U.S. 586 (2010), any payment shall be made payable 18 to plaintiff and delivered to plaintiff’s counsel, unless plaintiff does not owe a federal debt. If the 19 United States Department of the Treasury determines that plaintiff does not owe a federal debt, 20 the government shall accept plaintiff’s assignment of EAJA fees and pay fees directly to 21 plaintiff’s counsel. 22 DATED: November 13, 2017. 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?