Morgan v. Social Security Administration
OPINION & ORDER by Magistrate Judge Kimberly E. West granting 22 Motion for Attorney Fees; and granting 24 Supplemental Motion for Attorney Fees (sjr, Chambers)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
ASHLEY D. MORGAN,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting
Commissioner of Social
Case No. CIV-15-334-KEW
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on Claimant’s Motion for
Attorney Fees Pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (Docket
By Order and Opinion entered September 8, 2016, this
Court reversed the decision of the Commissioner to deny Claimant’s
applications for disability insurance benefits under Title II and
for supplemental security income under Title XVI of the Social
Security Act and remanded the case for further proceedings.
In the Motion, Claimant seeks attorney’s fees for 36.90 hours
of time expended by his attorney at the stipulated fee rate for a
total request of $7,011.00 under the authority of the Equal Access
to Justice Act (“EAJA”).
This request reflects a voluntary
reduction of the fee by $1,159.00.
The Commissioner contests the
award of EAJA fees, contending her position in the underlying case
was substantially justified. Because Claimant was required to file
a reply to respond to the Commissioner’s objection, she filed a
Supplemental Application for Attorney Fees to include $1,349.00 to
research and prepare the reply brief, also reflecting a voluntary
reduction of the fee requested.
The Commissioner did not respond
to the Supplemental Application.
EAJA provides that a prevailing party other than the United
States shall be awarded fees and costs unless the court finds the
position of the United States was substantially justified or that
Security cases, Defendant has the burden of showing that her
position was substantially justified.
1266, 1267 (10th Cir. 1988).
Hadden v. Bowen, 851 F.2d
Defendant must prove that, even if
her position is incorrect, her case had a reasonable basis in law
Defendant must show that there is a genuine dispute and that
reasonable people could differ concerning the propriety of a
particular agency action.
Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 565
(1987). The government’s “position can be justified even though it
is not correct . . . and it can be substantially (i.e., for the
most part) justified if a reasonable person could think it correct
. . .”
Id. at 566 n.2.
accordance with this Court’s decision.
The Commissioner contends
that the ALJ was reasonable in Claimant could perform jobs which
required a reasoning level which exceeded Claimant’s stated RFC.
substantially justified since his findings on Claimant’s functional
abilities directly conflict with the requirements of the three
occupations which he found Claimant could perform.
Since the Commissioner did not object to the reasonableness of
preparation of Claimant’s reply will be awarded.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Claimant’s Motion for Attorney
Fees Pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (Docket Entry #22)
and Claimant’s Supplemental Application for Attorney Fees (Docket
Entry #24) are hereby GRANTED and that the Government be ordered to
pay Claimant’s attorney’s fees in the total amount of $8,360.00.
In accordance the ruling of the Tenth Circuit Court of
Appeals, the award with shall be made to Claimant as the prevailing
party and not directly to Claimant’s counsel.
Manning v. Astrue,
510 F.3d 1246, 1255 (10th Cir. 2007); 28 U.S.C. § 2412(b).
attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b)(1), counsel shall
refund the smaller amount to Claimant.
Weakley v. Bowen, 803 F.2d
575, 580 (10th Cir. 1986).
IT IS SO ORDERED this 23rd day of January, 2017.
KIMBERLY E. WEST
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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