Edwards v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 18


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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SOUTHERN DIVISION TAMARA E. EDWARDS, Plaintiff, Civil Case No. 18-13526 Honorable Linda V. Parker v. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant. _______________________________/ OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR AUTHORIZATION OF ATTORNEY FEES PURSUANT TO 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) Plaintiff commenced this action to appeal a final administrative decision denying her claim for benefits under the Social Security Act. The parties thereafter stipulated to a remand to the Social Security Administration for further action pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (ECF No. 14.) On remand, Plaintiff was found disabled and awarded past due benefits. (ECF No. 16-1.) The Social Security Administration notified Plaintiff that it would withhold $31,157.57 in benefits, representing an award of attorney’s fees equal to 25% of the total amount of past due benefits to which Plaintiff is entitled.1 (Id. at Pg. ID 1205.) At In a recent Notice filed with the Court, Plaintiff’s counsel states that “a new Notice of Award [] issued by the Administration . . . . indicates that $30,614.50 was withheld for attorney fees.” (ECF No. 17 at Pg. ID 1240-41.) 1 the administrative level, Plaintiff requested attorney’s fees totaling $10,000. (ECF No. 16-7 at Pg. ID 1239.) The matter is presently before the Court on a motion for authorization of attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) in the amount of $8000, filed by Plaintiff’s counsel. (ECF No. 16.) Plaintiff consents to the fee request. (Id. at Pg. ID 1195, ⁋ 10.) Defendant does not object to the requested relief. (Id., ⁋ 9.) Section 406(b) authorizes a court to award a social security claimant the fees for his or her representative in an amount not to exceed 25 percent of the total of the past-due benefits to which the claimant is entitled. 42 U.S.C. § 406(b). While fee awards are possible under both the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412, and § 406(b), Congress provided that “the claimant’s attorney must ‘refund to the claimant the amount of the smaller fee.’” Gisbrecht v. Barnhart, 535 U.S. 789, 796 (2002) (quoting Pub. L. 99-80, § 3, 99 Stat. 186). In this case, Plaintiff’s counsel did not request fees under the EAJA. (ECF No. 16 at Pg. ID 1195, ⁋ 9.) Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorney Fees Pursuant to § 406(b) of the Social Security Act is GRANTED and Plaintiff’s counsel is 2 awarded fees in the amount of $8,000. IT IS SO ORDERED. s/ Linda V. Parker LINDA V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE Dated: April 28, 2021 3

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