Titsworth v. Colvin
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER that plaintiff's Motion for Attorney Fees, Filing No. 22 , is granted. Fees to be paid by the Social Security Administration are awarded in the amount of $8,565.85, and are payable to the plaintiff as the litigant and may be subject to offset to satisfy any pre-existing debt owed to the United States. Ordered by Senior Judge Joseph F. Bataillon. (ADB)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security,
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees, Filing No.
22. Plaintiff is the prevailing party in this case, as this Court previously awarded him
benefits and remanded the case to the Commissioner for a determination of benefits.
Filing No. 21. Pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. § 2412,
the plaintiff requests attorney fees in the amount of $8,565.85. Filing No. 24, Plaintiff’s
Brief, p. 1.
Plaintiff moves for $8,565.85 dollars in attorney fees. The EAJA provides for
attorney fees in the amount of $125.00 per hour for actions filed after March 29, 1996.
Sean D. Cuddigan, attorney for the plaintiff, specializes in social security cases. He
generally believes his time is worth $250.00 per hour. He has been practicing law since
2008. His associate attorney at the time, Phillip Martin, worked on the case also. In
general, states plaintiff, “the percentage increase in the Cost of Living is calculated by
dividing the cost of living figure in August 2016 (240.849) by the cost of living in March
1996 (155.7). The result (1.54687861) is multiplied by $125.00 per hour to compute the
current hourly maximum of $193.36. Counsel's request for $193.36 per hour is within
the EAJA cap.” Filing No. 25, Declaration of Sean D. Cuddigan, at 2.
The Commissioner does not dispute that plaintiff is entitled to fees in this case.
The Commissioner requests that the payment may be made directly to the plaintiff and
that such payment may be mailed to plaintiff’s counsel, subject to any pre-existing
governmental off-sets. Astrue v. Ratliff, 560 U.S. 586 (2010).
The Court has carefully reviewed the motion and finds it should be granted. The
plaintiff is the prevailing party and is entitled to receive attorney fees.
Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292, 302-303 (1993).
The hourly rates are reasonable in this
community. Counsel is experienced and achieved positive results for his client. The
hours expended are reasonable. Plaintiff is the prevailing party and has a net worth
under $2,000,000. 28 U.S.C. § 2412 (d)(2)(B). The Court further finds that the position
of the government was not substantially justified and there are no special circumstances
that would make this award an unjust one. 28 U.S.C. § 2412 (d)(1)(A).
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT:
1. Plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees, Filing No. 22, is granted.
2. Fees to be paid by the Social Security Administration are awarded in the
amount of $8,565.85, and are payable to the plaintiff as the litigant and may be subject
to offset to satisfy any pre-existing debt owed to the United States.
Dated this 11th day of January, 2018.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Joseph F. Bataillon
Senior United States District Judge
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