United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
WILLIAM F. JUNG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff's Uncontested Petition for EAJA
Fees Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2312(d) (Dkt. 26).
Plaintiff represents that the Commissioner has no objections.
Dkt. 26 ¶ 14. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's
timely motion for an award of attorney fees is due to be
Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) provides
that attorney fees, expenses, and costs shall be awarded to
the prevailing party. 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A)
(“[A] court shall award to a prevailing party other
than the United States fees and other expenses, in addition
to any costs awarded pursuant to subsection (a), incurred by
that party . . . unless [two circumstances exist]”.).
To justify an award of fees under the EAJA, the claimant must
(1) be a prevailing party in a non-tort suit involving the
United States; (2) file a timely application for attorney
fees; and (3) possess a net worth of less than $2 million at
the time the complaint was filed. 28 U.S.C. §
2412(d)(1)(A) (non-tort cases); § 2412(d)(1)(B)
(timeliness); § 2412(d)(2)(B) (net worth). In addition
to the requirements for the claimant, there cannot be any
special circumstances that would make the award of fees
unjust, and the Commissioner's position must not be
“substantially justified.” 28 U.S.C. §
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). In light of the lack of opposition to the
fees sought, the Court will not find that the
Commissioner's position was substantially justified. Nor
are there special circumstances which would make the award
unjust. Plaintiff's net worth was less than $2, 000, 000
when this proceeding was filed. Dkt. 26 ¶ 8. Thus, an
award of his attorneys' fees is appropriate.
EAJA requires that the amount of attorney fees be
“reasonable.” 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(2)(A). The
standard by which to determine the amount is explained in the
EAJA as follows:
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 attorneys' rates are
$202.50 per hour for 2018, and $203.75 per hour for 2019.
Dkt. 26 at 21-23. As these rates are higher than the
statutory maximum, Plaintiff's attorneys are seeking a
cost of living adjustment. The Commissioner does not object
to the requested rate. The Court finds these hourly rates
reasonable and the cost of living adjustment
Court also finds reasonable the number of hours, 39.50 hours,
spent on the case. The Court thus finds that $8, 005.38 is a
reasonable amount for attorney fees. Accordingly, it is
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED:
Motion for EAJA Fees (Dkt. 26) is granted. Plaintiff is
awarded attorney fees in the total amount of $8, 005.38. If
the United States Department of Treasury determines that
Plaintiff does not owe a federal debt, then pursuant to
Plaintiff's assignment of EAJA fees (Dkt. 26-1), the fees
may be paid directly to Plaintiff's counsel.
Clerk of Court shall enter judgment in favor of Plaintiff and
against Defendant in the total amount of ...