Beaver v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 39

ORDER on 37 Motion for 406(B) Attorney Fees, signed by Judge David W. Christel. (GMR)

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Case 3:20-cv-05754-DWC Document 39 Filed 11/16/21 Page 1 of 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 8 9 10 GEORGE BEAVER, Plaintiff, 11 12 13 14 15 16 CASE NO. 3:20-CV-5754-DWC ORDER ON MOTION FOR 406(B) ATTORNEY FEES v. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant. Presently before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees Pursuant to 42 17 U.S.C.§ 406(b). Dkt. 37. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73 and 18 Local Rule MJR 13, the parties have consented to have this matter heard by the undersigned 19 Magistrate Judge. See Dkt. 2. 20 Under 42 U.S.C. § 406(b), the Court may allow a reasonable fee for an attorney who 21 represented a Social Security claimant before the Court and obtained a favorable judgment, as 22 long as such fee is not in excess of 25% of the total past-due benefits. See Grisbrecht v. 23 Barnhart, 535 U.S. 789 (2002). When a contingency agreement applies, the Court will look first 24 to such agreement and will conduct an independent review to assure the reasonableness of the ORDER ON MOTION FOR 406(B) ATTORNEY FEES - 1 Case 3:20-cv-05754-DWC Document 39 Filed 11/16/21 Page 2 of 2 1 fee requested, taking into consideration the character of the representation and results achieved. 2 See id. at 807, 808. Although the fee agreement is the primary means for determining the fee, the 3 Court may reduce the fee for substandard representation, delay by the attorney, or because a 4 windfall would result from the requested fee. See Crawford v. Astrue, 586 F.3d 1142, 1151 (9th 5 Cir. 2009) (citing Grisbrecht, 535 U.S. at 808). 6 Here, Plaintiff signed a contingency fee agreement agreeing to pay his attorney a fee 7 equal to 25% of the amount awarded for past-due benefits. See Dkt. 37-3. The representation was 8 not substandard and the results achieved were excellent. See Dkt. 33; Dkt. 37-2; Grisbrecht, 535 9 U.S. at 808. This Court remanded this matter to the Administration for further proceedings and, 10 following remand, Plaintiff was awarded benefits. See Dkt. 33, 37-2. There is no evidence of an 11 excessive delay by the attorney or that a windfall will result from the requested fee. Furthermore, 12 Plaintiff states the Motion is unopposed and the Commissioner has no objection to the award. 13 Dkt. 37. 14 Plaintiff moves for attorney’s fees in the total amount of $ 6,475.38, which is 25% of 15 Plaintiff’s total past-due benefits. See Dkt. 18, 18-3. Previously, Plaintiff was awarded an 16 attorney fee of $ 6,043.39 under the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”). Dkt. 36. Therefore, 17 Plaintiff is moving for a remaining attorney’s fee award of $ 431.99. After review of the relevant 18 record, the Court orders attorney’s fees in the amount of $ 431.99, minus any applicable 19 processing fees as allowed by statute, be awarded to Plaintiff’s attorney, Elie Halpern, pursuant 20 to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b). 21 Dated this 16th day of November, 2021. 22 A 23 David W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge 24 ORDER ON MOTION FOR 406(B) ATTORNEY FEES - 2

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