Hill v. Commissioner of Social Security
ORDER granting 23 Plaintiff's Unopposed Application for Attorney's Fees Under the Equal Access to Justice Act. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment for Plaintiff as to attorney's fees in the amount of $5,467.91 and costs in the amount of $400.00 under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2412(a),(d). Signed by Magistrate Judge Carol Mirando on 10/17/2016. (LS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
Case No: 2:14-cv-708-FtM-CM
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
This matter comes before the Court upon review of Plaintiff’s Unopposed
Application for Attorney’s Fees Under the Equal Access to Justice Act (Doc. 23) filed
on September 20, 2016. Plaintiff moves pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act
(“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412, for an award of attorney’s fees in the amount of $5,467.91
and costs in the amount of $400.00. Doc. 23 at 1. Plaintiff attaches an itemization
of time confirming a total of 28.8 hours; 4.75 hours at the rate of $191.08 per hour for
the year 2014, 22.5 hours at the rate of $189.55 per hour for the year 2015, and 2
hours at the rate of $190.35 for the year 2016. Id. at 9. Plaintiff represents that
the Commissioner does not oppose the motion or relief requested. Id. at 2. For the
reasons stated herein, the Motion is due to be granted.
Under the EAJA, a prevailing party is eligible for an award of litigation costs
in any civil action brought against any agency or any official of the United States
acting in his or her official. 28 U.S.C. § 2412(a). Under the EAJA, a claimant is
also eligible for an attorney fee award where: (1) the claimant is a prevailing party in
a non-tort suit involving the United States; (2) the Government’s position was not
substantially justified; (3) the claimant filed a timely application for attorney’s fees;
(4) the claimant had a net worth of less than $2 million at the time the complaint was
filed; and (5) there are no special circumstances which would make the award of fees
unjust. 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d).
In this case, on March 31, 2016, this Court entered an Order reversing and
remanding this case to the Commissioner for further proceedings pursuant to
sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Doc. 18. Judgment was entered on March 31,
Plaintiff also asserts that the Commissioner’s position in the
underlying action was not substantially justified, and that her net worth at the time
this proceeding was filed was less than two million dollars. Doc. 23 at 1-2. The
Commissioner does not contest that Plaintiff meets the requirements under the
EAJA, and the Court finds that all conditions have been met.
EAJA fees are “based upon prevailing market rates for the kind and quality of
services furnished,” not to exceed $125.00 per hour unless the Court determines that
an increase in the cost of living or a special factor justifies a higher fee. 28 U.S.C.
Determination of the appropriate hourly rate is thus a two-step
The Court first determines the prevailing market rate; then, if the
prevailing rate exceeds $125.00, the Court determines whether to adjust the hourly
rate. Meyer v. Sullivan, 958 F.2d 1029, 1033-34 (11th Cir. 1992). The prevailing
market rates must be determined according to rates customarily charged for similarly
complex litigation, and are not limited to rates specifically for social security cases.
Watford v. Heckler, 765 F.2d 1562, 1568 (11th Cir. 1985).
Plaintiff’s counsel is requesting $400.00 in costs as reimbursement for the
filing fee. Doc. 23 at 1. Plaintiff’s counsel is also requesting an adjusted hourly rate
that is authorized by applying the cost-of-living adjustment to the $125.00 ceiling for
work he performed in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Id. at 5. Because the Commissioner
does not object to the adjusted hourly rates sought and they are within the rates
permitted by the EAJA, the Court finds that $191.08 per hour for the year 2014,
$189.55 per hour for the year 2015, and $190.35 per hour for the year 2016 are
appropriate and reasonable hourly rates. Id. Plaintiff’s counsel also has submitted
a schedule of hours that includes an itemization of legal services performed. Id. at
After reviewing the description of the services provided, the Court also
concludes that the time is reasonable and properly compensable.
ACCORDINGLY, it is hereby
The Unopposed Application for Attorney's Fees Under the Equal Justice
Act (Doc. 23) is GRANTED. Attorney’s fees in the amount of $5,467.91 shall be
awarded to Plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d), and costs in the amount of
$400.00 shall be awarded to Plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2412(a). If the United
States Department of the Treasury determines that Plaintiff does not owe a federal
debt, the Government will accept Plaintiff’s assignment of EAJA fees and pay fees
directly to Plaintiff’s counsel.
The Clerk is directed to enter judgment for Plaintiff as to attorney’s fees
in the amount of $5,467.91 and costs in the amount of $400.00 under the Equal Access
to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2412(a),(d).
DONE and ORDERED in Fort Myers, Florida on this 17th day of October,
Counsel of record
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