Newton v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 25

ORDER granting 24 Joint Motion for Attorney Fees and Expenses under the EAJA. Signed by Judge David W. Dugan on 6/5/2024. (jnh)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS JENNY N.,1 Plaintiff, vs. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant. DUGAN, District Judge: ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No. 3:23-cv-3790-DWD MEMORANDUM & ORDER Before the Court is the parties’ Joint Motion to Award Attorney Fees and Expenses. (Doc. 24). The parties agree the Court should enter an order awarding Plaintiff $8,000.00 for attorney fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”), which “shall fully and completely satisfy any and all claims for fees and/or expenses that may have been payable to plaintiff in this matter pursuant to the EAJA.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2412.2 Further, the parties request that the Court find any fees paid belong to Plaintiff— not to Plaintiff’s attorney—and can be offset to satisfy any preexisting debt that Plaintiff owes to the United States of America. See Astrue v. Ratliff, 560 U.S. 586, 593 (2010) (holding subsection (d)(1)(A) of § 2412 awards attorney fees and expenses to the litigant, subjecting the attorney fees and expenses to a federal administrative offset for federal debts owed). It is also notable that Plaintiff provided Defendant an EAJA assignment of fees. (Doc. 24). 1Plaintiff’s 2The full name will not be used due to privacy concerns. $8,000.00 request includes attorney fees and expenses but not costs. (Doc. 24). If Plaintiff does not owe a preexisting debt subject to a federal administrative offset, then Defendant will direct the payment of the $8,000.00 award to Plaintiff’s attorney. (Doc. 24). Here, the Court FINDS the requested attorney fees and expenses are proper under § 2412(d)(1)(A) and (B). The Court FURTHER FINDS an award of $8,000.00 is reasonable. Accordingly, the parties’ Joint Motion is GRANTED. Plaintiff is awarded $8,000.00 for attorney fees and expenses in full satisfaction of any and all claims that may be payable to Plaintiff in this matter under the EAJA, § 2412. Any fees paid belong to Plaintiff, not to Plaintiff’s attorney, and can be offset to satisfy any preexisting debt that Plaintiff owes to the United States of America. See Astrue, 560 U.S. at 593. If Defendant can verify that Plaintiff does not owe such a preexisting debt subject to an offset, Defendant shall direct that the award be made payable to Rory Linerud under the EAJA assignment. If the payment is mailed, as compared to electronically deposited, it shall be mailed to counsel’s address of record: 1144 Wallace Road NW, #212, P.O. Box 5734, Salem, OR 97304. SO ORDERED. Dated: June 5, 2024 s/ David W. Dugan __________________________ DAVID W. DUGAN United States District Judge

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