LAMERIO v. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY
OPINION. Signed by Judge William J. Martini on 11/16/16. (gh, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civ. No. 2:13-cv-06928 (WJM)
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.:
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Juan Lameiro’s motion for
attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d). Counsel
seeks a total of $7,575.13, of which $4,375 has already been paid. In opposition, the
Commissioner argues that the motion is time-barred. Because the Court agrees that
the motion is untimely, Plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees is DENIED.
Plaintiff filed an application for Disability and Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) on
December 7, 2011 and for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) on December 12,
2011. Complaint ¶ 3. The Commissioner denied the claims on March 13, 2012 and
denied the claims upon reconsideration on October 16, 2012. Id. ¶ 4. On May 7,
2013, the ALJ affirmed the denial of benefits. The Appeals Council denied a request
for review on October 23, 2013. This Court partly vacated the Commissioner’s
decision on December 16, 2014 and remanded the case for further administrative
proceedings. ECF No. 12. Plaintiff’s past due benefits were calculated to be $13,325.
Pl.’s Br. at 8.
On December 22, 2015, counsel filed her pending application in this Court
under the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) and 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) for
additional attorney fees. ECF No. 14. She requests compensation at a rate of $220.37
per hour for 34.42 hours of work, totaling $7,575.13, of which $4,375 has been paid.1
ECF No. 17-1. By an amended motion dated August 22, 2016, Counsel withdrew
her request for “further attorney fees” under § 406(b), but preserved her EAJA fee
request. ECF. No. 17.
The Equal Access to Justice Act authorizes federal courts to award reasonable
attorney fees “to the prevailing party in any civil action . . . including proceedings
for judicial review of agency action, brought by or against the United States . . .
unless the court finds that the position of the United States was substantially justified
or that special circumstances make an award unjust.” 28 U.S.C.A. § 2412(d)(1)(A).
Requests for attorney fees must be made within thirty days of a “final
judgement.” 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(B). Cases, such as the instant action, that are
remanded under the fourth sentence of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) are considered “final”
immediately upon remand. See Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292, 302-03 (1993).
The “final judgment” in this case occurred when the Court vacated the
Commissioner’s decision and remanded the case on December 16, 2014. ECF No.
13. Plaintiff’s counsel did not file her EAJA application until December 22, 2015.
ECF No. 14. Because Plaintiff’s counsel did not file the EAJA application within
thirty days of this Court’s judgment, the application is untimely.
Plaintiff’s application is untimely. The motion for attorney fees is DENIED.
/s/ William J. Martini
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
November 16, 2016
Counsel’s fee agreement with Plaintiff allows her to receive up to $6,000 of past due benefits.
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?