Mitchell v. Saul
ORDER granting 24 motion for attorney fees. Signed on 5/10/2022 by District Judge M. Douglas Harpool. (Maerz, Mary)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
Case No. 21-00033-CV-W-MDH-SSA
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Application for Attorney’s Fees under the Equal Access to
Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412. (Doc. 24). Plaintiff’s Motion seeks $5,590.60, and Defendant agrees
this amount is reasonable. (Doc. 25). The EAJA creates a right to attorney fees in civil actions
against the government. The EAJA statute provides legal fees may be allowed only for an
adversary action, such as a SSA 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 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
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
Case 4:21-cv-00033-MDH Document 26 Filed 05/10/22 Page 1 of 2
hourly rate under the EAJA was increased from $75 to $125 per hour for cases commenced on or
after March 26, 1996.
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 $5,590.60, representing 25.7 hours of
Therefore, Plaintiff’s Attorney’s Motion is GRANTED, and it is ORDERED that Plaintiff
is awarded $4,539.00 to be paid by the Social Security Administration. Plaintiff has signed an
Assignment of EAJA Fees in this case. 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 subject to offset to satisfy a pre-existing debt
that the litigant owes to the United States.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: May 10, 2022
/s/ Douglas Harpool______
United States District Judge
Case 4:21-cv-00033-MDH Document 26 Filed 05/10/22 Page 2 of 2
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