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Bruton v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

October 17, 2017

REGINALD BRUTON, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DANIEL C. IRICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This cause comes before the Court for consideration without oral argument on the following motion:

MOTION: PETITION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES PURSUANT TO THE EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT, 28 U.S.C.A. SECTION 2412(d) (Doc. 44)
FILED: October 12, 2017
THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. BACKGROUND.

         The Court entered judgment in this case on September 22, 2017, reversing and remanding this case to the Commissioner of Social Security (the Commissioner) for further proceedings pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Doc. 39. Plaintiff filed a Petition for Attorney's Fees (Motion) on October 12, 2017. Doc. 44. Plaintiff requests an award of attorney fees totaling $5, 149.65, pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d) (EAJA). Id. at 3. Plaintiff also requests that the award of EAJA fees be paid directly to his counsel if the Commissioner determines she does not owe a debt to the federal government. Id. at 5-6. The Motion is unopposed. Id. at 5.

         II. DISCUSSION.

         A party seeking an award of attorney fees pursuant to the EAJA must demonstrate that he or she is eligible for an award of EAJA fees and that the amount sought is reasonable. The undersigned finds, as discussed below, that Plaintiff is eligible to recover EAJA fees and his request for EAJA fees is reasonable.

         A. Eligibility for EAJA Fees.

         A party may recover an award of attorney fees against the government provided the party meets five requirements: 1) the party seeking the award is the prevailing party; 2) the application for such fees, including an itemized justification for the amount sought, is timely filed; 3) the claimant had a net worth of less than $2 million at the time the complaint was filed; 4) the position of the government was not substantially justified; and 5) there are no special circumstances which would make an award unjust. See 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1), (d)(2).

         1. Prevailing Party.

         The Court reversed the final decision of the Commissioner pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and remanded the case for further proceedings. Doc. 39. A plaintiff that obtains a sentence-four remand is a prevailing party. Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292, 300-02 (1993). Accordingly, the undersigned finds that Plaintiff is a prevailing party.

         2. ...


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