Madru v. Commissioner of Social Security
ORDER granting in part 21 Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by Jane M Virden on 7/23/13. (ncb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
LISA KAY MADRU
CIVIL ACTION NO.: 2:12CV00189-JMV
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
ORDER AWARDING ATTORNEY FEES
Before the court is the claimant’s petition  for attorney fees pursuant to the Equal
Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412, and costs from the Judgment Fund. 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 June 4, 2013, the court
remanded this case to the Commissioner for further proceedings. The claimant now seeks
attorney fees in the amount of $4,742.50 (representing 27.1 hours of attorney time at a rate of
$175/hr) under the EAJA on the grounds that she was the prevailing party and the Commissioner’s position was not “substantially justified.” The claimant also seeks $165.00 in costs to
be paid from the Judgment Fund for mileage. Additionally, the claimant requests that the sums
be paid to her attorney pursuant to an assignment of EAJA fees. The Commissioner does not
oppose the claimant’s request for attorney fees and mileage; however, Defendant insists that the
mileage constitutes an “expense” under the EAJA and, thus, is not payable from the Judgment
Fund. Additionally, the Commissioner asserts that the EAJA award should be made payable to
the claimant, not her attorney.
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. Additionally, the court has
considered the applicable law and finds that the mileage expense requested by Plaintiff is
appropriately payable from SSA appropriations, not the Judgment Fund. See 28 U.S.C. §
2412(d)(4) and 31 U.S.C. § 1304. Accordingly, the only remaining issue is whether the award
should be paid to the claimant or to her attorney.
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 the
court finds it is appropriate to direct that payment be made to the claimant.2
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the claimant’s motion for payment of attorney
fees and expenses is hereby GRANTED in part, and the Commissioner shall pay the claimant a
total of $4,907.50 for the benefit of her attorney.
THIS, the 23rd day of July, 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.
As indicated in the Commissioner’s response, however, once this order is entered and after
Defendant has received confirmation that the claimant does not owe a debt to the Government, Defendant
will issue payment to the claimant’s attorney pursuant to the assignment of EAJA fees.
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