United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
C. IRICKUNITES STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
cause comes before the Court for consideration without oral
argument on the following motion:
UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES (Doc. 20)
FILED: December 20, 2017
THEREON it is RECOMMENDED
that the motion be GRANTED in part.
November 9, 2017, judgment was entered 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). Docs. 18; 19. On
December 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for attorney fees
(the Motion), requesting an award of $3, 012.37 in attorney
fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C.
§ 2412(d) (the EAJA). Doc. 20. Plaintiff also implicitly
requested that the EAJA award be paid directly to
Plaintiff's counsel if the government determines that
Plaintiff does not owe a debt to the government. Id.
at 2-3. The Motion is unopposed. Id. at 3.
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 that Plaintiff's
request for EAJA fees is reasonable.
Eligibility for EAJA Fees.
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). Plaintiff met all five
requirements in this case.
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. Docs. 17; 18; 19.
The Supreme Court has made clear that a plaintiff obtaining 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.
plaintiff must file an application for fees and other
expenses within 30 days of the “final judgment in the
action.” 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(B). A final
judgment is defined as a judgment that “is final and
not appealable.” Id. at § 2412(d)(2)(G).
The Commissioner generally has 60 days in which to appeal,
thus a judgment typically becomes final after 60 days. Fed.
R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(B). The plaintiff, as discussed above,
then has 30 days in which to file his or her motion for EAJA
fees. Therefore, a motion for EAJA fees is timely if it is
filed within 90 days after the date that judgment is entered.
Jackson v. Chater, 99 F.3d 1086, 1095 n.4 (11th Cir.
1996). Here, the Judgment was entered on November 9, 2017,
and the Motion was filed 41 days later on December 20, 2017,
before the Commissioner's time to appeal had passed.
Docs. 19; 20. However, given that the Commissioner did not
object to the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 17) or the
Motion, it appears that the Commissioner has declined to
appeal and, thus, that the Motion is timely. Should the
Commissioner wish to appeal the Court's decision, the
Commissioner may object to this Report.