United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
DENISE C. DEVELLIS, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
G. Edmunds District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. MAJZOUB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Denise Devellis filed this action seeking judicial review of
Defendant Commissioner of Social Security's determination
that she is not entitled to benefits under the Social
Security Act. (Docket no. 1.) The parties stipulated to
remand the case to the Commissioner for further
administrative action. (Docket no. 25.) Before the Court is
Plaintiff's Application for Attorney Fees under the Equal
Access to Justice Act (EAJA). (Docket no. 26.) This matter
has been referred to the undersigned for issuance of a Report
and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).
(Docket no. 27.) Having reviewed the pleadings, the Court
dispenses with a hearing pursuant to Eastern District of
Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f)(2) and issues this Report and
reasons that follow, it is recommended that Plaintiff's
Application for Attorney Fees (docket no. 26) be
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN
April 11, 2011, Plaintiff applied for Social Security
Disability Insurance Benefits, alleging that she had been
disabled since May 11, 2009. (TR 129.) On September 7, 2012,
Administrative Law Judge Paul Jones issued an unfavorable
decision on Plaintiff's claims. (TR 12-23.) On July 14,
2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking judicial review.
(Docket no. 1.) On March 29, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion
for summary judgment (docket no. 20) and a motion for leave
to file excess pages pursuant to Rule 7.1(d)(3) of the Local
Rules of the Eastern District of Michigan (docket no. 21). In
a text-only order, the Court denied Plaintiff's motion
for leave to file excess pages and struck the originally
filed motion for summary judgment. On the same date,
Plaintiff filed an amended motion for summary judgment, which
did not exceed the 25-page limit of Rule 7.1(d)(3). On May
26, 2017, the parties entered a stipulated judgment remanding
this matter to the Commissioner for further administrative
proceedings. (Docket no. 25.) Before the Court is
Plaintiff's motion for attorney fees, which was filed on
August 23, 2017. (Docket no. 26.)
Law and Analysis
seeks an award reimbursing legal fees of $6, 534.00 and costs
of $86.90 pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act
(“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412.
EAJA provides that a court shall award attorney fees and
expenses to a prevailing party (other than the United States)
in any civil action brought against the United States, unless
the position of the government was substantially justified.
28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A). As noted above, the Parties
stipulated to remand this matter to the Commissioner for
additional proceedings. (Docket no. 25.) Accordingly,
Defendant “agrees with plaintiff that an EAJA award is
warranted in this case.” (Docket no. 29, p. 2.)
However, Defendant objects to (1) the asserted amount of
Plaintiff's expenses, and (2) the reasonableness of
certain legal fees requested by Plaintiff.
fees claimed under the EAJA must be reasonable. Glass v.
Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 822 F.2d 19, 21
(6th Cir. 1987). “The most useful starting point for
determining the amount of a reasonable fee is the number of
hours reasonably expended on the litigation multiplied by a
reasonable hourly rate.” Hensley v. Eckerhart,
461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). The Sixth Circuit has recognized
that “the rate-times-hours method of calculation, also
known as the ‘lodestar' approach, includes most, if
not all, of the factors relevant to determining a reasonable
attorney's fee.” Glass, 822 F.2d at 21
(citing Coulter v. State of Tenn., 805 F.2d 146, 149
(6th Cir. 1986)).
counsel submitted a schedule of services provided to
Plaintiff in connection with this case, including the date of
the service, the time expended, and a description of the work
involved. (Docket no. 26-2.) Claiming to have expended 36.3
hours at a rate of $180 per hour, Plaintiff's counsel
seeks reimbursement of $6, 534.00. (Docket no. 26-4.)
Motion for Summary ...