Simpson v. Comissioner of Social Security

Middle District of Florida, flmd-8:2016-cv-01642

ORDER granting {{21}} Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by Magistrate Judge Amanda Arnold Sansone on 11/14/2017. (DMP)

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PageID 751 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA TAMPA DIVISION CAROLYN SIMPSON, Plaintiff, v. Case No.: 8:16-cv-1642-T-AAS NANCY A. BERRYHILL, acting Commissioner of Social Security,1 Defendant. ______________________________________/ ORDER This cause comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Petition for Attorney's Fees. (Doc. 21). Plaintiff asserts that the Commissioner does not oppose the requested relief. (Id., p. 1). Plaintiff seeks attorney's fees in the amount of $6,028.29 and reimbursement of filing costs in the amount of $400.00 pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2412. Plaintiff asks for $1,849.73 in fees for work performed on the case in 2016, calculated at a rate of $192.68 per hour for 9.6 hours, and $4,178.56 in fees for work performed on the case in 2017, calculated at a rate of $195.26 per hour for 21.40 hours.2 The Court entered an order reversing and remanding the case under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to the Commissioner for further administrative proceedings. (Doc. 19). The Clerk entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff that same day. (Doc. 20). As the prevailing party, Plaintiff 1 Between the filing of this suit and the entry of this Order, Nancy A. Berryhill replaced Carolyn W. Colvin as acting Commissioner. As such, Ms. Berryhill is "automatically substituted as a party." Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(d). 2 The undersigned finds the hourly rates requested reasonable in light of Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator. See 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(2)(A) ("[A]ttorney fees shall not be awarded in excess of $125 per hour unless the court determines that an increase in the cost of living. . . justifies a higher fee."). 1 PageID 752 now requests an award of fees. See 28 U.S.C. § 2412(a)(1) & (d)(1)(A). As judgment for Plaintiff was entered on August 31, 2017, and Plaintiff filed her Petition for Attorney's Fees on November 13, 2017, the Court has jurisdiction to award the requested fees. See 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(B).3 Plaintiff also seeks reimbursement for costs incurred as a result of the filing fee in the amount of $400.00. Under § 2412(a)(2), the prevailing party in an action brought against the United States may recover costs, including an amount equal to the filing fee prescribed under 28 U.S.C. § 1914, which in turn requires any party instituting a civil action to pay a filing fee of $350.00. In the Middle District of Florida, the party instituting a civil action must also pay a $50 administrative fee. See U.S. Dist. Court Middle Dist. of Fla., Forms, Policies & Publications, uscourts.gov, http://www.flmd.uscourts.gov/forms/forms_policies.htm (select "Fee Schedule"). After issuance of an order awarding EAJA fees, however, the United States Department of the Treasury will determine whether Plaintiff owes a debt to the government. If Plaintiff has no discernable federal debt, the government will accept Plaintiff's assignment of EAJA fees and pay the fees directly to Plaintiff's counsel. (Doc. 21-2). For the reasons set out in Plaintiff's motion, therefore, it is hereby ORDERED: 1. Plaintiff's Petition for Attorney Fees (Doc. 21) is GRANTED. 2. Plaintiff is awarded $6,028.29 in attorney's fees pursuant to the EAJA. 3. Plaintiff is awarded $400.00 in costs pursuant to the EAJA. DONE AND ORDERED in Tampa, Florida, on this 14th day of November, 2017. 3 The sixty-day appeal period expired on October 31, 2017, at which point the Court's judgment became final. See Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(b). Therefore, Plaintiff's deadline for filing a petition for EAJA fees is December 1, 2017. See 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(B); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a)(1). 2