Malone v. Astrue
ORDER granting 22 Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by Jane M Virden on 3/26/13. (ncb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
PAULA J. MALONE
CIVIL ACTION NO.: 1:12CV-00177-JMV
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
ORDER AWARDING ATTORNEY FEES
Before the court is the claimant’s motion  for payment of attorney fees pursuant to
the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412. In these proceedings, the claimant
sought judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security, denying a
claim for benefits. By Judgment  dated February 26, 2013, the court remanded this case to
the Commissioner for further proceedings. The claimant now seeks attorney fees under the
EAJA on the grounds that she was the prevailing party and the Commissioner’s position was not
“substantially justified.” By the motion and attached exhibits, the claimant requests an award of
$6,909.00 in attorney fees. The Commissioner does not oppose the claimant’s request for
attorney fees but maintains that the EAJA award must be payable to the claimant, not her
The court has considered the claimant’s motion and supporting documentation and the
record of this case and finds that the fee request is reasonable. Accordingly, the only issue
remaining is whether the award should be paid to the claimant or to her attorney.
The Commissioner states that he “objects to Plaintiff’s request that the Court order the
EAJA Attorney Fees to [sic] be paid directly to Plaintiff’s attorney.” However, the court reads
the claimant’s request differently, as she specifically requests that the award be paid “to Plaintiff
for her attorney, per the Assignment of EAJA Fees . . . with the Commissioner retaining
discretion to pay those fees to counsel for the plaintiff pursuant to a duly executed assignment
upon the Commissioner’s determination that the plaintiff does not have an outstanding debt due
and owing to the United States . . . .”
In Astrue v. Ratliff, 130 S.Ct. 2521, 2528-29 (2010), the Supreme Court held that EAJA
fees are payable to litigants. Ratliff, 130 S.Ct. at 2528.1 Therefore, based on this authority and
because both the claimant and the Commissioner request that the award be paid to the claimant,
the court finds it is appropriate to direct that payment be made to the claimant.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the claimant’s motion for payment of attorney
fees under the EAJA is hereby GRANTED, and the Commissioner shall pay the claimant
$6,909.00 for the benefit of her attorney.
THIS, the 26th day of March, 2013.
/s/ Jane M. Virden
U. S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
The result is that attorney fees awards are subject to offset where the claimant has outstanding
federal debts. Ratliff, 130 S.Ct. at 2528.
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