DiGiantomasso v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration
ORDER granting 35 Plainiff's Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by Honorable Robin J. Cauthron on 07/16/21. (wh)
In the United States District Court for the
Western District of Oklahoma
Adina Marie Digiantomasso
Andrew M. Saul,
Social Security Administration,
Case No. 19 CIV 631 C
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s attorney motion for $10361.75 for
attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. § 406b, filed on June 25. 2021. Doc. 35. On July
9, 2021, defendant filed its response. Upon consideration of the parties’
submissions, the Court makes its determination. In August 2020, this Court
entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff, reversing the Administrative Law
Judge’s denial of disability benefits under the Social Security Act, and
remanding for further proceedings. Plaintiff’s application for EAJA fees for
legal work pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act was granted in the
amount of $6420.10 and has been paid by the government.
On remand, Plaintiff was found to have been disabled and entitled to
benefits since September 2015. The notice sent by the Commissioner shows
back benefits were awarded for $41447.00. 25% of this amount is $10361.75. The
fee amount requested in Plaintiff’s motion is for this amount. Specifically,
Plaintiff’s counsel moves the Court to approve an award of attorney fees for
$10361.75 under 42 U.S.C. § 406b for a total of 32.9 hours of legal work
expended in this action.
Having carefully reviewed Plaintiff’s attorney’s motion, the Court finds
the motion for attorney fees was filed by the deadline set by Court’s order
extending the time to file for fees. The Court further finds that the award of
$10361.75 is not for more than 25% of the past due benefits Plaintiff was
awarded on remand. The award is consistent with reasonable hourly rates of
about $315 an hour for attorney work and $324 an hour for paralegal work in
this contingent case. These hourly rates represent a multiplier of 2.7 for 4.6
hours of paralegal work and a multiplier of .90 for 28.5 hours of legal services
rendered by counsel in this action. This is generally consistent with fee
awards in other cases and is not inconsistent with the fee contract which is to
be given primacy under Gisbrecht v. Barnhart, 535 U.S. 789 (2002).
Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s attorney’s motion for attorney
fees under 42 U.S.C. §406(b) and AWARDS fees in the amount of $10361.75
which should be paid out of the past due benefits withheld for payment of
The Commissioner shall release to counsel the funds the agency
continues to hold after payment of the fee approved for the agency counsel.
After the EAJA fee previously awarded is used to cover the underpayment, the
excess EAJA award will immediately be refunded to Plaintiff that counsel is
not double paid for the same work. The Social Security Administration shall
pay said fee award directly to Steve A. Troutman, of Troutman & Troutman,
P.C. who signed the fee contract on behalf of the firm.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 16th day of July 2021.
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