Waller v. Commissioner of Social Security
ORDER granting 23 Motion for Attorney Fees, awarding attorney fees in the amount of $5,561.50. Signed by Judge James L. Graham on 09/18/17. (jlg1)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
Tim D. Waller,
Case No. 2:14-cv-2301
This matter is before the court on plaintiff’s application for
an award of attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §406(b)(1).
administrative proceedings which occurred following the remand of
this matter to the Commissioner.
Plaintiff and counsel entered
into a fee agreement which provided that counsel would be paid
twenty-five percent of an award of past due benefits.
obtained an award of benefits, and the agency withheld the amount
of $10,561.50 (twenty-five percent of the total award) for attorney
administrative fee of $5,000.00 for work at the administrative
Counsel now seeks the remaining $5,561.50 for attorney
He has submitted an itemized billing statement.
indicates that plaintiff supports the payment of fees.
Commissioner has not responded to the motion.
By statute, a court must award “a reasonable fee ... not in
excess of 25 per cent of the total past-due benefits.” 42 U.S.C.
A fee award should reflect the purpose of the social
security program to provide a measure of economic security to the
recipient, the extent and type of legal services provided, the
complexity of the case, the level of skill and competence required
of the attorney, the amount of time spent on the case, the results
achieved, and the level at which the favorable decision was made.
20 C.F.R. §§404.925(b) and 416.1525(b).
Moreover, a fee agreement
between a recipient and his counsel “should be given the weight
ordinarily accorded a rebuttable presumption.” Rodriguez v. Bowen,
865 F.2d 739, 746 (6th Cir. 1989). Deductions are permissible when
there is improper conduct or ineffectiveness of counsel or when
counsel would otherwise enjoy a windfall because of either an
inordinately large benefit award or minimal effort expended in the
Hayes v. Sec’y of Health & Human SErvs., 923 F.2d 418, 421
(6th Cir. 1990).
“[A] hypothetical hourly rate that is less than
twice the standard rate is per se unreasonable.”
Id. at 422.
the final analysis, an award must be “reasonable for the services
Gisbrecht v. Barnhart, 535 U.S. 789, 807 (2002).
Upon consideration of all the appropriate factors, the court
concludes that the requested fee is reasonable.
signed a contingency fee agreement, and the requested fees are
consistent with that agreement. The requested fee does not reflect
a rate of compensation more than twice the standard rate.
cannot be said that plaintiff’s counsel was ineffective or expended
minimal effort in this case; to the contrary, his work in this case
resulted in the remand of this matter to the Commissioner for
further administrative proceedings, in which benefits were awarded
The motion (Doc. 23) for an award of attorney fees pursuant to
§406(b) is granted. Counsel is hereby awarded attorney fees in the
amount of $5,561.50, consisting of the funds still withheld by the
Social Security Administration for the payment of attorney fees.
Date: September 18, 2017
s/James L. Graham
James L. Graham
United States District Judge
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?