Barthelemy v. Social Security Administration
ORDER AND REASONS. Plaintiff's 25 Motion for Attorney Fees and expenses is GRANTED. It is ORDERED that plaintiff be awarded $7,239.44 in reasonable attorney fees, plus expenses of $20.10, payable to plaintiff in care of his attorney. Signed by Judge Sarah S. Vance. (gec)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING
COMMISSIONER OF THE SOCIAL
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is plaintiff Sterling Barthelemy's motion for attorney
fees and costs under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. § 2142.
For the following reasons, the Court grants plaintiff's application and awards
$7,259.24 for attorney fees and expenses.
Plaintiff filed a complaint on February 4, 2014 in which he sought review
of the Social Security Administration's denial of benefits.1 After answering
plaintiff's complaint,2 the Commissioner voluntarily moved for the case to be
remanded for further proceedings.3 The Court granted the motion and
ordered that the case be remanded under the fourth sentence of 42 U.S.C. §
R. Doc. 2.
R. Doc. 10.
R. Doc. 18.
405(g).4 Plaintiff now seeks an award of attorney fees and expenses under 28
U.S.C. § 2412.5
A court must award "fees and other expenses" under section
2412(d)(1)(A) if (1) the claimant is a "prevailing party," (2) the position of the
United States was not "substantially justified," and (3) there are no special
circumstances that make an award unjust. See 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A);
Davidson v. Veneman, 317 F.3d 503, 506 (5th Cir. 2003). Plaintiff may be
considered a "prevailing party" under the EAJA if he "succeed[s] on any
significant issue in litigation which achieves some of the benefit he sought in
bringing suit." Sims v. Apfel, 238 F.3d 597, 600 (5th Cir. 2001). Here, the
Court remanded the matter under the fourth sentence of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g),
which provides: "The court shall have power to enter, upon the pleadings and
transcript of the record, a judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security, with or without remanding
the cause for a rehearing." The United States Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit
have made clear that a remand under the fourth sentence of section 405(g)
renders the plaintiff a "prevailing party." Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292,
300–02 (1993); Rice v. Astrue, 609 F.3d 831, 833–34 (5th Cir. 2010).
R. Doc. 19.
R. Doc. 25.
Further, the Government has the burden of establishing that its position was
"substantially justified," Sims, 238 F.3d at 602, but the Government has not
opposed plaintiff's request for fees and expenses; nor has it demonstrated that
its position was substantially justified. As there are no special circumstances
that make an award unjust, the Court has reviewed the hours claimed by
plaintiff's counsel and awards $7,259.24 in attorney fees and expenses.
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's motion for attorney fees and
expenses is GRANTED. It is ORDERED that plaintiff be awarded $7,239.44
in reasonable attorney fees, plus expenses of $20.10, payable to plaintiff in
care of his attorney.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this ___ day of January, 2016.
SARAH S. VANCE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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