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Zanon v. Commissioner of Social Security

April 15, 2010

DAVID A. ZANON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Avern Cohn

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR ATTORNEYS FEES

I. Introduction

This is a Social Security case. Plaintiff David A. Zanon appealed a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for Social Security benefits. The Court reversed the Commissioner's decision and remanded the case to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for further proceedings. Now before the Court is Zanon's Application for Attorneys' Fees Under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). The Commissioner agrees that Zanon is entitled to attorneys fees, but asserts that the fees requested are unreasonable.

Ordinarily the Court would schedule this matter for hearing. Upon review of the parties' papers, however, the Court finds that oral argument is not necessary. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(e)(2). For the reasons that follow, the Court will award Zanon $5,225.25 in attorneys fees.

II. Background

A.

Zanon filed a disability claim on December 2, 2004. He says that he is disabled due to mental impairments. A hearing was held before an ALJ on November 16, 2006. The ALJ issued a decision denying benefits on March 2, 2007. Review was denied by the Appeals Council on September 29, 2008.

Zanon brought an action for judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Zanon filed a motion for summary judgment or remand. The Commissioner also filed a motion for remand which Zanon did not oppose. The Magistrate Judge (MJ) recommended that the case be remanded to the ALJ. The Court adopted the MJ's recommendation and remanded the case.

Zanon then brought this application for attorneys fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

B.

Zanon is represented by Daley, DeBofsky & Bryant, a Chicago-based law firm. He claims that the firm expended a total of 32.1 hours in litigating his claim. The work was performed by Frederick Daley (Daley), Katherine Hoppe (Hoppe), and Suzanne Blaz (Blaz).

Daley has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has represented social security disability benefits claimants throughout his career. He spent 1 hour evaluating and accepting Zanon's case, 3.8 hours drafting and editing documents related to merits of Zanon's claim, and 2.5 hours drafting and editing documents related to the EAJA application.

Hoppe has been a practicing attorney since 2007 and has represented social security disability benefits throughout her career. She spent 1 hour evaluating and accepting Zanon's case and 18.65 hours researching, drafting and editing documents related to the merits of Zanon's claim.

Blaz has seven years of experience as a head law clerk/paralegal at Daley, DeBofsky & Bryant. She earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Chicago School of Law in January 2007. She spent 2.65 hours evaluating Zanon's case, preparing preliminary paperwork and drafting the complaint, 1 hour drafting and editing documents related to the merits of Zanon's claim, and 1.5 hours drafting and editing ...


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