McDonough v. Social Security, Commissioner of
ORDER Granting 20 Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by District Judge Avern Cohn. (MVer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 15-11916
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
HON. AVERN COHN
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY
FEES (Doc. 20)1
This is a Social Security case. Plaintiff Matthew McDonough (McDonough)
appealed the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) denying
his application for Disability Insurance Benefits. McDonough sought benefits due to a
mental impairment, Bipolar Affective Disorder, Type I. McDonough filed a motion for
summary judgment, (Doc. 9). The Commissioner filed a cross motion for summary
judgment, (Doc. 11). The motions were referred to a magistrate judge for a report and
recommendation (R&R), (Doc. 13). The R&R recommended that the Court grant
McDonough's motion for summary judgment, deny the Commissioner's cross motion for
summary judgment, and reverse and remand for the award of benefits. The
Commissioner has filed objections to the R&R, (Doc. 14), to which McDonough
Upon review of the parties’ papers, the Court deems this matter appropriate for
decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2).
responded, (Doc. 15). Following a hearing, the Court issued an order adopting the
R&R, overruling the Commissioner’s objections, denying the Commissioner’s motion for
summary judgment and granting McDonough’s motion for summary judgment, and
remanding the matter for an award of benefits. (Doc. 18).
Before the Court is McDonough’s motion for attorney fees. For the reasons that
follow, the motion will be granted.
The Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) provides that the Court shall award
attorney fees and expenses to a prevailing party (other than the United States) in any
civil action brought against the United States, unless the position of the government was
substantially justified. 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A). The EAJA also provides that the
attorney fees awarded may not be at a rate of more than $125 per hour, unless the
Court determines that an increase in the cost of living, or some other special factor,
justifies a higher fee. Id. § 2412(1)(D)(2)(A).
Here, McDonough’s counsel seeks attorney fees at the rate of $176.47 per hour
for 68 hours, for a total of $12,000.00 in attorney fees plus reimbursement of the
$400.00 filing fee. The Commissioner objects only to the total hours spent on the case.
The Commissioner contends that counsel should have expended only 42.5 attorney
hours which affords counsel “a slight adjustment over the normal range of hours” and
provides for an award of $75,00.00 in attorney fees. The Commissioner’s objection is
not well-founded.2 McDonough’s counsel provided detailed billing records
The objection appears to be nothing more than pettifogging.
demonstrating and justifying 68 hours of attorney time spent on the case.
For the reasons stated above, McDonough’s motion is GRANTED. McDonough
is entitled to an award of attorney fees in the amount $12,000.00 plus $400.00, for a
total award of $12,400.00.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: January 25, 2017
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?