Cowsett v. Colvin
ORDER granting 23 Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders on 6/21/16. (def)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
CIVIL ACTION NO.4:14CV145-DMB-DAS
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
ORDER AWARDING ATTORNEYS FEES
Before the court is the claimant=s motion for payment of attorney’s fees pursuant to the
Equal Access to Justice Act (AEAJA@), 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 2, 2016, the court remanded this case to the
Commissioner for further proceedings.
The claimant now seeks attorney’s fees under the EAJA
as the prevailing party, asserting the Commissioner=s position was not Asubstantially justified.@
By the motion and attached exhibits, the claimant requests an award of $ 4,281.98.
Commissioner has not opposed the motion.
The court, having considered the foregoing and the record of this case, finds a claim for
attorney’s fees is appropriate and the hours claimed are reasonable, but that the calculation of the
allowable hourly rate is erroneous under Fifth Circuit precedent.
The plaintiff has calculated
the cost of living adjustment using the temporal mid-point calculation method.
looks at the time covered by the services rendered in the case, in this particular case, beginning
in October 15, 2014 when the complaint was filed and ending on February 2, 2016, when the
judgment was entered in the case. The mid-point between the beginning and ending dates is
June 9, 2015. The plaintiff has used the June 2015 CPI-U for “All Items Index,” Urban South
and requests $ 190.31 per hour for all attorney’s fees.
The correct index has been used in making this calculation, and other jurisdictions have
employed use of a temporal mid-point to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment.1
Fifth Circuit Court precedent, while not dictating all the specifics about how the lower courts
should adjust for changes in the cost of living, requires that cost-of-living adjustments be made
to reflect the cost of living applicable for the year in which legal services are rendered. Perales
v. Cassilas, 950 F.2d 1066, 1076 (5th Cir. 2010).
The following is a breakdown of the hours of work broken down by year and the
appropriate hourly rate, and the calculation of the attorney’s fees that should be paid pursuant to
1 United Partition Sys.Inc. v. United States, 95 Fed.Cl. 42, 58 (2010).
For 2014 and 2015, the calculations are made by multiplying $ 125.00 by the annual CPI-U, All items Index for the
South Region, then divided the product by 192.4, the CPI-U South Region, for March 1996, the effective date of the
revised EAJA. Because there are no annual or semi-annual CPI-U (South Urban) numbers at the present
time, the court has used the February, 2016 index number of 229.646 in calculating the rate for services in
that month. The May, 2016 figure is 232.995. The court has made a slight adjustment to the breakdown
of the hours by year, because one small time entry was mistakenly attributed to the wrong year. The total
hours claimed have been approved by the court as reasonable.
IT IS ORDERED that the claimant=s motion for payment of attorney’s fees under the
EAJA is hereby GRANTED, and the Commissioner shall pay the claimant $ 4,193.17 for the
benefit of the claimant's attorney.
SO ORDERED this the 21st day of June, 2016.
/s/ David A. Sanders
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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?