Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kristin M. Manning v. Michael J. Astrue

December 29, 2011

KRISTIN M. MANNING, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for an award of attorney's fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2412. See Dkt. No. 18. Defendant opposes the motion on the ground that the government's position was substantially justified. See Dkt. No. 19.

II. BACKGROUND

On January 26, 2009, Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking judicial review of Defendant's final decision that denied Plaintiff's claim for benefits. See Dkt. No. 1. Magistrate Judge Bianchini issued a Report and Recommendation in which he recommended that the Court remand Plaintiff's claim for benefits for further proceedings pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See Dkt. No. 15 at 2-3. This Court adopted the Report and Recommendation on June 1, 2010, see Dkt. No. 16, and entered a final judgment in favor of Plaintiff on June 7, 2010, see Dkt. No. 17.

On July 29, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking an award of attorney's fees in the amount of $6,876.48. See Dkt. No. 18 at 1. This sum represented the 39.4 hours that Plaintiff's attorney expended on this matter in 2009 and 2010 at the hourly rate of $174.53. See Dkt. No. 18-1 at ¶¶ 6-7. In addition, Plaintiff sought an additional $610.86 for the 3.5 hours her attorney expended in replying to Defendant's opposition to this motion. See Dkt. No. 20 at 4.

III. DISCUSSION

The EAJA provides that 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 . . . brought by or against the United States . . . 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(d)(1)(A) (emphasis added).

In order for a party to be awarded attorney's fees under the EAJA, the plaintiff must demonstrate that she (1) is the prevailing party (2) is eligible to receive an award, (3) enumerates the amount she seeks, (4) shows the rate at which she computed the fees, and (5) alleges that the position of the government was not substantially justified. See 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(B).

In this case, Plaintiff claims that she should receive an award of attorney's fees under the EAJA because (1) her net worth did not exceed $2,000,000 at the time she filed this action, see Dkt. No. 18-2, Affidavit of Waiver of Direct Payment of EAJA Fees, at ¶ 3; (2) she was a prevailing party in a case against the government, see Dkt. No. 18-1 at ¶ 12(d); and (3) the position of the government was not substantially justified, see id. at ¶ 13.

A. Defendant's position not substantially justified

"The Government bears the burden of showing that its position was 'substantially justified.'" Healey v. Leavitt, 485 F.3d 63, 67 (2d Cir. 2007). To meet this burden, the government "must make a 'strong showing' that its action was 'justified to a degree that could satisfy a reasonable person.'" Id. (quoting Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 565, 108 S. Ct. 2541, 101 L. Ed. 2d 490 (1988)) (other citations omitted). For the reasons stated in the Court's prior decision remanding ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.