Deaton v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 30

ORDER granting 27 Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by Judge Timothy S. Black on 8/17/2020. (rrs)

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Case: 1:16-cv-00947-TSB-KLL Doc #: 30 Filed: 08/17/20 Page: 1 of 2 PAGEID #: 1227 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO WESTERN DIVISION LISA DEATON, Plaintiff, vs. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant. : : : : : : : : : : Case No. 1:16-cv-947 Judge Timothy S. Black Magistrate Judge Karen L. Litkovitz ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR AWARD OF ATTORNEY FEES (Doc. 27) This is a Social Security disability benefits appeal in which Plaintiff received pastdue benefits after this Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. (Doc. 20 at 2; Doc. 27-4 at 1). On July 25, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel filed a motion pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b), seeking attorney fees for services rendered in pursuit of Plaintiff’s past-due benefits (the “Motion for Attorney Fees”). (Doc. 27). Thereafter, on July 29, 2020, the Commissioner filed a response stating in relevant part as follows: “The Commissioner’s attorneys . . . do not oppose the [Motion for Attorney Fees] because the motion is consistent with § 406(b)’s requirements, is in accord with the fee agreement, and is otherwise reasonable.” (Doc. 29 at 1). Under 42 U.S.C. § 406(b), an attorney who successfully represents a Social Security claimant may seek a reasonable fee for such representation, not in excess of 25 percent of the total past-due benefits to which the claimant is entitled. 42 U.S.C. Case: 1:16-cv-00947-TSB-KLL Doc #: 30 Filed: 08/17/20 Page: 2 of 2 PAGEID #: 1228 § 406(b)(1); see Horenstein v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 35 F.3d 261, 262 (6th Cir. 1994). The Court must determine the reasonableness of the fees sought subject to the statutory 25 percent cap. Gisbrecht v. Barnhart, 535 U.S. 789, 807 (2002). Section 406(b) “does not displace contingent-fee agreements”; rather, it “calls for court review of such arrangements as an independent check, to assure that they yield reasonable results in particular cases.” Id. Here, Plaintiff’s counsel seeks $7,250.00 pursuant to a 25 percent contingent-fee agreement. (Doc. 27 at 1; Doc. 27-3 at 1). $7,250.00 represents less than 25 percent of the total past-due benefits Plaintiff received through her counsel’s representation.1 (Doc. 27 at 1; Doc. 27-4 at 1). Upon review, the Court finds that the fee sought is reasonable in light of the significant time expended by Plaintiff’s counsel in pursuit of a favorable outcome for her client. (See Doc. 27-2 at 1). Based upon the foregoing, Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees (Doc. 27) is GRANTED, and the Commissioner is DIRECTED to pay Plaintiff’s attorney fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) in the amount of $7,250.00. IT IS SO ORDERED. Date: 8/17/2020 s/Timothy S. Black Timothy S. Black United States District Judge 1 Plaintiff received a total of $39,248.00 in past-due benefits as a result of her counsel’s representation. (Doc. 27-4 at 1). 2

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