Absher v. Saul
ORDER Plaintiff's 17 Petition for EAJA Attorney Fees as noted. Signed by Chief Judge Martin Reidinger on 2/18/2021. (kby)
THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
CIVIL CASE NO. 5:19-cv-00172-MR
Commissioner of Social Security,
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff’s Petition for
Attorney Fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act [Doc. 17].
The Plaintiff seeks an award of attorney’s fees in the amount of
$6,500.00 in full satisfaction of any and all claims by the Plaintiff in this case
pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412 (“EAJA”).
[Doc. 17]. The Defendant consents to such an award. [Id. at 1]. In light of
the Court’s prior remand of this matter, and in the absence of any contention
by the Commissioner that his position was substantially justified or that
special circumstances exist that would render an award of attorney’s fees
unjust, the Court concludes that the Plaintiff is entitled to an award of
attorney’s fees under the EAJA. The Court further concludes that, in light of
Case 5:19-cv-00172-MR Document 18 Filed 02/18/21 Page 1 of 3
the Commissioner’s stipulation to the Plaintiff’s request [see Doc. 17 at 1],
the Plaintiff is entitled to reimbursement from the Treasury Judgment Fund
of the $400.00 in costs incurred as a result of filing this action.
The Plaintiff requests that the EAJA award be paid directly to Plaintiff’s
counsel as the Plaintiff’s assignee. In support of this request, the Plaintiff
has submitted a fee agreement executed by the Plaintiff, pursuant to which
the Plaintiff has agreed to assign any EAJA fee award in favor of counsel.
[Doc. 17-2]. The Court finds that the Commissioner should accept this
assignment of the awarded fees by the Plaintiff to counsel and upon receipt
of such assignment, the Commissioner will pay that award of fees directly to
Plaintiff’s counsel, provided that it is shown that the Plaintiff does not owe
any debt to the United States Government which is subject to offset. See
Astrue v. Ratliff, 560 U.S. 286 (2010).
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that:
The Plaintiff’s Petition [Doc. 17] is hereby GRANTED, and the
Plaintiff is hereby awarded attorney’s fees in the amount of Six
Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($6,500.00), which sum is in full
satisfaction of any and all claims by the Plaintiff in this case
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d);
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Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, or some other
time as determined by the Court upon good cause shown, the
Commissioner shall inform Plaintiff’s counsel whether the
Plaintiff owes a debt to the Government by which this fee award
may be offset. Before any funds are disbursed to counsel, the
Plaintiff’s counsel shall provide a valid fee assignment to the
The sum of Four Hundred Dollars ($400.00) in costs shall be
reimbursed to the Plaintiff from the Treasury Judgment Fund
upon certification thereof by the Office of the United States
Attorney to the Department of Treasury.
In the event that past-due benefits are awarded on remand, the
Plaintiff shall have sixty (60) days after being served with notice
of the past-due benefits award to file for an award of fees
pursuant to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 406(b); and
No additional Petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d) may be
Signed: February 18, 2021
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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