Carroll v. Colvin

Filing 25

ORDER GRANTING 23 MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS FEES PURSUANT TO 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) - signed by Judge David W. Christel.(SH)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 6 7 8 SHANNON L. CARROLL, Plaintiff, 9 10 11 12 v. NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, CASE NO. 3:15-CV-05526-DWC ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES PURSUANT TO 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) Defendant. 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Shannon L. Carroll’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b). Dkt. 23. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73 and Local Rule MJR 13, the parties have consented to have this matter heard by the undersigned Magistrate Judge. See Dkt. 6. Under 42 U.S.C. § 406(b), the Court may allow a reasonable fee for an attorney who represented a Social Security Title II claimant before the Court and obtained a favorable judgment, as long as such fee is not in excess of 25% of the total past-due benefits. See Grisbrecht v. Barnhart, 535 U.S. 789 (2002). When a contingency agreement applies, the Court will look first to such agreement and will conduct an independent review to assure the reasonableness of the fee requested, taking into consideration the character of the representation and results achieved. See Grisbrecht, 535 U.S. at 807, 808. Although the fee agreement is the ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES PURSUANT TO 42 U.S.C. § 406(B) - 1 1 primary means for determining the fee, the Court may reduce the fee for substandard 2 representation, delay by the attorney, or because a windfall would result from the requested fee. 3 See Crawford v. Astrue, 586 F.3d 1142, 1151 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing Grisbrecht, 535 U.S. at 4 808). 5 Here, Plaintiff signed a contingency fee agreement agreeing to pay her attorney a fee 6 equal to 25% of the her past-due benefits. See Dkt. 23-4. The representation was not substandard 7 and the results achieved were excellent. See Dkt. 16, 23-3; Grisbrecht, 535 U.S. at 808. This 8 Court reversed and remanded this matter to the Administration for further proceedings and, 9 following remand and a second hearing, Plaintiff was awarded benefits. See Dkt. 16, 23-1, 23-3. 10 There is no evidence of an excessive delay by the attorney or that a windfall will result from the 11 requested fee. Further, Defendant does not object to the requested fee. Dkt. 24. 12 Plaintiff moves for attorney’s fees in the amount of $10,449.83, which is 25% of 13 Plaintiff’s total past-due benefits, with a voluntary reduction of $635.67. See Dkt. 23, 23-3, p. 2. 14 Previously, Plaintiff was awarded an attorney fee of $5,564.33 under the Equal Access to Justice 15 Act (“EAJA”). See Dkt. 23. Therefore, Plaintiff is moving for a net attorney’s fee award of 16 $4,885.50. Based on Plaintiff’s Motion and supporting documents (Dkt. 23, 29-1, 29-3– 29-6), 17 and Defendant does not object to the requested fee (Dkt. 24), the Court orders attorney’s fees in 18 the amount of $4,885.50 be awarded to Plaintiff’s attorney pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b). After 19 paying the attorney’s fee, the Social Security Administration shall release all remaining funds 20 directly to Plaintiff. 21 Dated this 24th day of July, 2017. A 22 23 David W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge 24 ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES PURSUANT TO 42 U.S.C. § 406(B) - 2

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