Taggart v. Saul
ORDER granting 23 motion for attorney fees. Signed January 17, 2023 by District Judge M. Douglas Harpool. (Clark, Christopher)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
DONNA D. TAGGART,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
Case No. 21-04109-CV-C-MDH
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Application for Attorney’s Fees under the Equal Access to
Justice Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412. (Doc. 23). Plaintiff’s Motion seeks $4,957.00 (Doc. 231), and Defendant agrees this amount is reasonable. (Doc. 24). The EAJA creates a right to
attorney’s fees in civil actions against the government. The EAJA statute provides legal fees may
be allowed only for an adversary action, such as a social security claim in district court. 42 U.S.C.
§ 406(b)(1); Clifton v. Heckler, 755 F.2d 1138 (5th Cir. 1985).
In determining whether the attorney’s fees requested by a qualified Plaintiff are
“reasonable,” Section 2412(d)(2)(A) of EAJA specifies a statutory cap of $125.00 per hour, which
should be adjusted for increases in the cost of living. The Eighth Circuit has held that the Consumer
Price Index constitutes appropriate proof of the cost-of-living increase since the original enactment
of the EAJA, and justifies an award higher than the statutory rate of $75. Stanfield v. Apfel, 985 F.
Supp. 927, 930-931 (E.D. Mo. 1997) (decision approving as “reasonable” in 1997 an hourly rate
of $128.36 per hour) citing Johnson v. Sullivan, 919 F.2d 503, 504 (8th Cir. 1990). The statutory
hourly rate under the EAJA was increased from $75 to $125 per hour for cases commenced on or
after March 26, 1996.
Case 2:21-cv-04109-MDH Document 25 Filed 01/17/23 Page 1 of 2
Further, in determining the reasonableness of the hours claimed in Plaintiff’s request, the
Court must rely upon its own knowledge, experience, and expertise of the time required
completing similar activities by lawyers of reasonably comparable skill, experience, and
reputation. Shepherd v. Apfel, 981 F. Supp. 1188, 1192 (S.D. Iowa 1997) citing Gilbert v. City of
Little Rock, Arkansas, 867 F.2d 1063, 1066 (8th Cir. 1989). Defendant has no objection to
Plaintiff’s requests for attorney’s fees in the amount of $4,957.00, representing 22.50 total hours
of attorney work. (Doc. 24).
Therefore, Plaintiff’s Motion is GRANTED, and it is ORDERED that Plaintiff is awarded
$4,957.00 to be paid by the Social Security Administration. Plaintiff has signed an Assignment of
EAJA Fees in this case. (Doc. 23-3). The award is to be made payable to Parmele Law Firm. The
Court acknowledges that, in accordance with Astrue v. Ratliff, 560 U.S. 586 (2010), the EAJA fee
is payable to Plaintiff as the litigant and may be offset to satisfy a pre-existing debt that the litigant
owes to the United States.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: January 17, 2023
/s/ Douglas Harpool______
United States District Judge
Case 2:21-cv-04109-MDH Document 25 Filed 01/17/23 Page 2 of 2
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