Metzler v. Commissioner Social Security Administration
OPINION AND ORDER: The Court thus DENIES plaintiff's Application, with leave for plaintiff to refile with sufficient, proper support and information. Signed on 11/28/17 by Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan. (dsg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON
STEPHEN J. METZLER,
Case No. 3:16-cv-02000-SU
SULLIVAN, United States Magistrate Judge:
Plaintiff Stephen J. Metzler has filed a Stipulated Application for Fees Pursuant to EAJA,
the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412. (Docket No. 21). Plaintiff requests that
attorney fees of $5,876.74 be awarded to his attorneys. Id. The Commissioner has stipulated to
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this award. Id. On August 24, 2017, the Court reversed the Commissioner’s decision denying
plaintiff benefits, and remanded for further administrative proceedings. (Docket Nos. 19, 20).1
As the prevailing party, plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees under EAJA. However,
plaintiff has not provided the proper support for his application. The Court must ensure that the
requested fees are reasonable, see Sorenson v. Mink, 239 F.3d 1140, 1145 (9th Cir. 2001), but
plaintiff has not submitted evidence of reasonableness, specifically, a report of attorney tasks
completed and hours spent on each. EAJA fees are statutorily capped, but plaintiff has not cited
the annual EAJA rates for the relevant year(s) worked. Such documentation is provided in EAJA
fee applications, even when stipulated. Additionally, under 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d), EAJA fee
awards are by default paid to the litigant, not his attorney. See Astrue v. Ratliff, 560 U.S. 586,
589 (2010). For the Court to order an award directly to plaintiff’s attorneys, plaintiff must
submit documentation so authorizing, such as a retainer agreement or attorney-client contract
providing for the payment of EAJA fees to plaintiff’s attorneys, or an affidavit from plaintiff
approving such payment. Plaintiff has not provided such authorization.
The Court thus DENIES plaintiff’s Application, with leave for plaintiff to refile with
sufficient, proper support and information.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED this 28th day of November, 2017.
/s/ Patricia Sullivan
United States Magistrate Judge
The parties have consented to the Magistrate Judge’s jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636.
(Docket No. 4).
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