Alaounis v. Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
ORDER granting 35 Motion for Attorney Fees insofar as the Court adopts the parties' stipulation and awards Plaintiff $3,700.00 in attorney's fees plus $16.00 in expenses pursuant to EAJA. Signed by Honorable Bruce Howe Hendricks on 9/26/2017.(gnan )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Raymond Joseph Alaounis,
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security,
Civil Action No. 4:16-cv-532-BHH
This matter is before the Court upon Plaintiff’s motion for attorney’s fees pursuant
to the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412. In his motion, Plaintiff
seeks attorney’s fees in the amount of $4,398.63, representing 22.85 attorney hours at the
hourly rate of $192.50, plus $16.00 in expenses. On September 25, 2017, Defendant filed
a stipulation for an EAJA award, notifying the Court that the parties have agreed to an
award of $3,700.00 in attorney’s fees plus $16.00 in expenses as compensation for all legal
services rendered by counsel on behalf of Plaintiff.
Attorney’s fees may be awarded pursuant to EAJA where the government’s position
is not substantially justified. The substantial justification test is one of reasonableness in
law and fact. See Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 565 (1988). The district court has
broad discretion to set the attorney fee amount. “[A] district court will always retain
substantial discretion in fixing the amount of an EAJA award. Exorbitant, unfounded, or
procedurally defective fee applications . . . are matters that the district court can recognize.”
Hyatt v. North Carolina Dep’t of Human Res., 315 F.3d 239, 254 (4th Cir. 2002) (citing
Comm’r v. Jean, 496 U.S. 154, 163 (1990)). Moreover, the court should not only consider
the “position taken by the United States in the civil action,” but also the “action or failure to
act by the agency upon which the civil action is based.” 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(2)(D), as
amended by P.L. 99-80, § 2(c)(2)(B).
After consideration, it is hereby
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion (ECF No. 35) is granted insofar as the Court
adopts the parties’ stipulation and awards Plaintiff $3,700.00 in attorney’s fees plus $16.00
in expenses pursuant to EAJA as compensation for all legal services rendered by counsel
on behalf of Plaintiff.1
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/Bruce H. Hendricks
United States District Judge
September 26, 2017
Charleston, South Carolina
As the Supreme Court made clear in Astrue v. Ratliff, attorney’s fees under EAJA are made payable
to the prevailing litigant and not to the litigant’s attorney. 560 U.S. 586, 598 (2010) (holding that the plain text
of EAJA requires that attorney’s fees be awarded to the litigant, thus subjecting EAJA fees to an offset of any
pre-existing federal debts).
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?