United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
B. TOOMEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
CAUSE is before the Court on Plaintiff's
Uncontested Motion for Attorney's Fees
(“Motion”) (Doc. 21) pursuant to the Equal Access
to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d). Plaintiff makes a
timely request for an award of $3, 573.52 in attorney's
fees pursuant to Section 2412(d) of the Equal Access to
Justice Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d),
and $400.00 in costs pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2412(a)(1). (Doc. 19.) For the reasons stated herein,
the undersigned respectfully RECOMMENDS that
the Motion be GRANTED.
sets forth the following requirements for the award of fees
(a)(1) Except as otherwise specifically provided by statute,
a judgment for costs, as enumerated in section 1920 of this
title, but not including the fees and expenses of attorneys,
may be awarded to the prevailing party in any civil action
brought by or against the United States . . . in any court
having jurisdiction of such action. A judgment for costs when
taxed against the United States shall, in an amount
established by statute, court rule, or order, be limited to
reimbursing in whole or in part the prevailing party for the
costs incurred by such party in the litigation.
(d)(1)(A) Except as otherwise specifically provided by
statute, a court shall award to a prevailing party other than
the United States fees and other expenses . . . incurred by
that party in any civil action . . ., including proceedings
for judicial review of agency action, brought by or against
the United States in any court having jurisdiction of that
action, unless the court finds that the position of the
United States was substantially justified or that special
circumstances make an award unjust.
28 U.S.C. § 2412. In addition, EAJA limits the parties
eligible to recover fees to those “whose net worth did
not exceed $2, 000, 000 at the time the civil action was
filed.” 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(2)(B).
having obtained a sentence four reversal of a denial of
benefits and remand, is a “prevailing party.”
Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292, 300-02 (1993).
Additionally, the undersigned recommends that Defendant's
position was not substantially justified. Because the Motion
is unopposed, Defendant is essentially conceding the same.
Moreover, the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 18) adopted by
the Court supports this conclusion.
there are no special circumstances which would make the award
unjust. In addition, the Motion provides that
“Plaintiff's net worth at the time this proceeding
was filed was less than two million dollars.” (Doc. 21
at 2.) Thus, the undersigned recommends that an award of
attorney's fees under EAJA is appropriate.
regard to the amount of attorney's fees to be awarded,
EAJA requires that the fees be “reasonable.” 28
U.S.C. § 2412(d)(2)(A). In explanation of this standard,
The amount of fees awarded . . . shall be based upon
prevailing market rates for the kind and quality of the
services furnished . . . [and] attorney fees shall not be
awarded in excess of $125 per hour unless the court
determines that an increase in the cost of living or a
special factor, such as the limited availability of qualified
attorneys for the proceedings involved, justifies a higher
Motion reflects that Plaintiff's counsel's rate was
$192.67 per hour for work done by two attorneys in 2016,
$195.95 per hour for work done by two attorneys in 2017, and
$75.00 per hour for work done by one paralegal in
2017.(Doc. 21 at 2.) As the attorney rates are
higher than the statutory maximum, Plaintiff's counsel is
seeking a cost of living adjustment. (Id. at 8-10.)
The undersigned recommends that the hourly rates are
reasonable and that the cost of living adjustment is
warranted. Because the Motion is unopposed, Defendant is
essentially conceding the same. Moreover, based on the
undersigned's knowledge of, and familiarity with,
reasonable rates in social security appeals, the undersigned
recommends that the requested rates are in line with rates
typically awarded in similar cases. See Am. Civil
Liberties Union of Ga. v. Barnes, 168 F.3d 423, 431
(11th Cir. 1999) ([T]he court . . . is itself an expert on
the question and may consider its own knowledge and
experience concerning reasonable and proper fees and may form
an independent judgment either with or without the aid of
witnesses as to value.”) (quotations omitted); Carr
v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 5:10-cv-658-Oc-TBS, 2012
WL 1090648, *2 n.6 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 2, 2012) (awarding EAJA
fees for paralegal time at the rate of $75 per hour).
undersigned also recommends that the number of hours spent by
Plaintiff's counsel on the case is reasonable. Defendant
has not challenged the total number of hours or any of the
time entries submitted by Plaintiff's counsel.
Additionally, the undersigned has reviewed these time entries
and recommends that they are reasonable. (See Doc.
21 at 2, 13-15.) The undersigned thus recommends that $3,
573.52 (($192.67 x 1.8 hours) ($195.95 x 11.3 hours)
($75.00 x 13.5 hours)) is a reasonable amount for
attorney's fees in this case. The undersigned further
recommends that costs in the amount of $400.00 for the filing
of the Complaint are recoverable pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
it is respectfully RECOMMENDED that the
Court enter an order ...