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Gooding v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

September 20, 2019

MARTHA GOODING, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          LESLIE R. HOFFMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT:

         This cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the following motion filed herein:

MOTION: UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR AWARD OF ATTORNEY FEES PURSUANT TO THE EQUAL JUSTICE ACT, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d) (Doc. 28)
FILED:August 15, 2019
THEREON it is respectfully RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         I. Background

         On May 17, 2019, judgment was entered reversing and remanding this case to the Commissioner of Social Security for further proceedings pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Doc. 27). On August 15, 2019, the Plaintiff filed a motion requesting an award of $5, 400.20 in attorney fees, pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d). (Doc. 28 (Motion)).[1] The Plaintiff also requests that the EAJA a ward be paid directly to her counsel if the government determines that she does not owe a debt to the government. (Id. at 2).

         The Plaintiff's certificate of conferral pursuant to Local Rule 3.01(g) only states that the Commissioner “was unable to complete [his] review of the motion to date.” (Id.).[2] Therefore, it is not clear from the certificate whether the Commissioner opposes the Motion. That said, the Commissioner has not filed a response in opposition to the Motion, and the time to do so has passed. Therefore, the Motion is unopposed.

         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. As discussed below, the undersigned finds that the Plaintiff is eligible to recover EAJA fees and her 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. ...


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