Mettler v. Commissioner of Social Security
ORDER granting 25 Motion for Attorney Fees. The court orders that Michelle E. Mettler be awarded attorney fees under the EAJA in the total amount of $4,381.30, to be paid by the Defendant Acting Commissioner, subject to offset for any debts owed to the federal government. Signed by Magistrate Judge Suzanne Mitchell on 11/08/2017. (jb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
MICHELLE E. METTLER,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
Case No. CIV-16-1345-SM
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Award of Attorney’s Fees Under
the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 42 U.S.C. § 406(b). Doc. 25. Plaintiff
requests that she be awarded attorney’s fees in the amount of $4,381.30,
representing 22.5 hours of attorney time.
The EAJA requires federal courts to “award to a prevailing party fees
and other expenses . . . incurred by that party in any civil 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. § 2412(d)(1)(A). Because Plaintiff obtained
reversal and remand in this action, she is considered a “prevailing party for
purposes of EAJA.” See Hackett v. Barnhart, 475 F.3d 1166, 1168 (10th Cir.
2007). As a result, she is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees.
Plaintiff has submitted a detailed description of her attorney’s work and a
justification for the hourly rate of the attorney. Defendant has no objection to
the motion, and makes no argument that her position was substantially
justified. Doc. 26.
The undersigned knows of no special circumstances that would make an
award of attorney fees unjust. The undersigned has reviewed the fee request
and the contingent-fee agreement. The court finds both to be reasonable. See
Gisbrecht v. Barnhart, 535 U.S. 789, 806-07 (2002) (holding that § 406(b)
requires a court review of contingent-fee “arrangements as an independent
check, to assure that they yield reasonable results in particular cases” for
successful representation of Social Security benefits claimants).
The court orders that Michelle E. Mettler be awarded attorney fees
under the EAJA in the total amount of $4,381.30, to be paid by the Defendant
Acting Commissioner, “subject to offset” for any debts owed to the federal
government. Astrue v. Ratliff, 560 U.S. 586, 596-97 (2010). The fee shall be
made payable to Plaintiff in care of her attorney, Casey L. Saunders. Manning
v. Astrue, 510 F.3d 1246, 1254 (10th Cir. 2007). To the extent counsel is paid
from this EAJA fee award, the attorney will reimburse to Ms. Mettler the
smaller of either the EAJA award that is paid to the attorney or a subsequent
award under 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) from benefits awarded by reason of the court’s
judgment in this case to the extent the attorney actually receives double fees
for the same work. Weakley v. Bowen, 803 F.2d 575, 580 (10th Cir. 1986).
IT IS SO ORDERED this 8th day of November, 2017.
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?