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.

Marion v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 20, 2018

EVAN CARLYLE MARION, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES UNDER THE EAJA (DE 32)

          ANTHONY P. PATTI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff, Evan Carlyle Marion, filed his applications for disability insurance (DI) and supplemental security income (SSI) in October and November 2010, respectively, alleging that he has been disabled since May 25, 2010. (R. at 266, 274.) Plaintiff's applications were denied, and he sought a de novo hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). (R. at 113-136, 170-178, 182-183.) ALJ Anthony M. Smereka held a hearing on January 27, 2012, and subsequently determined that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (R. at 78-112, 61-77, 137-153.) On June 25, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (R. at 55-60.)

         On August 13, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI benefits, alleging that he has been disabled since June 26, 2013. (R. at 292-297.) Plaintiff's application was denied, and he sought a de novo hearing before an ALJ. (R. at 154-169, 217-225, 226-230.) ALJ Jerome B. Blum held a hearing on January 21, 2015, and subsequently determined that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (R. at 28-45, 12-27.) On February 19, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (R. at 1-11.) Thus, ALJ Blum's decision became the Commissioner's final decision.

         Plaintiff then timely commenced the instant action in federal court. (DE 1.) In his motion for summary judgment or remand, he set forth three statements of error: (1) the ALJ's Step 3 determination is improper and not supported by substantial evidence; (2) the ALJ violated the procedural aspect of the treating source rule in evaluating the medical source opinion of David Coleman, MA, LLPC; and (3) the ALJ failed to create an accurate Residual Functional Capacity Assessment and therefore erroneously found work at Step Five. (DE 17 at 15, 16-26.) The Commissioner opposed Plaintiff's motion and filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's decision. (DE 20.) Plaintiff filed a reply brief in support of his motion. (DE 21.) The parties consented to my authority (DE 26), and a hearing was held on May 4, 2017, at which Plaintiff's counsel (attorney Wesley J. Lamey) appeared in person and defense counsel (AUSA Jeanne D. Semivan) appeared by telephone. (DE 31.)

         On May 8, 2017, the Court issued an Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment or remand, granting in part and denying in part Defendant's motion for summary judgment, and remanding case to the Social Security Administration. Marion v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 4:16-CV-11198, 2017 WL 1833122 (E.D. Mich. May 8, 2017) (Patti, M.J.). While the Court affirmed the ALJ's assessment of Listing 1.04 and treatment of opinion evidence from therapist Coleman, the Court construed Plaintiff's third argument as “an attack on the ALJ's Step 4 RFC determination . . . [, ]” and concluded that the ALJ “failed to address Plaintiff's significant social limitations.” Marion, 2017 WL 1833122, *1-*3.

         B. The Instant Motion

         In the instant motion, Plaintiff seeks attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. § 2412, in an amount of $6, 912.50, consisting of 39.5 hours at $175.00/hour. (DE 32 at 5, DE 32-2.) In support of this request, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's position was “not substantially justified.” (DE 32 3 ¶ 6.) [1]

         The Commissioner opposes Plaintiff's application and argues that her position was substantially justified for several reasons: (1) the subtle or obscure nature of the issue on which the case was remanded compared with the prominence of the issues on which the Commissioner prevailed (DE 33 at 5); (2) the late clarification of the issue upon which the Plaintiff prevailed (DE 33 at 5-9); and (3) the factual reasonableness of the Commissioner's position (DE 33 at 9-10).

         Although Plaintiff reserved the right to file a reply in the event the Commissioner argued that “her position was substantially justified, ” (DE 32 at 4-5 ¶ 9), he has not done so.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         “In separate provisions, the EAJA allows a prevailing party other than the United States to recover fees and expenses incurred ‘in any civil action' brought by or against the United States, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A), or in an ‘adversary adjudication' conducted by an agency of the United States, 5 U.S.C. § 504.” Tri- State Steel Const. Co., Inc. v. Herman, 164 F.3d 973, 977 (6th Cir.1999). Plaintiff filed the instant request pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2412, which provides, in pertinent part:

[A] court shall award to a prevailing party other than the United States fees and other expenses, in addition to any costs ...

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.