United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY
FEES [DOC. # 21]
Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge.
to the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”), 28
U.S.C. § 2412(d), Dustin Jones (“Jones”)
requests that the Court award attorney fees, paid by the
Social Security Commissioner (“Commissioner”).
Jones requests that these fees be paid directly to his
only issue is whether Jones timely filed his motion. The
Court finds that he did. This motion is GRANTED.
filed a complaint against the Commissioner, appealing an
administrative decision denying him Social Security benefits.
The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment.
Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub issued a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) to reverse the
Commissioner's decision, grant Jones' motion for
summary judgment, and deny the Commissioner's motion for
summary judgment. Neither party filed objections to the
R&R, and the Court issued an order adopting the R&R
and remanding the case to the Commissioner.
filed this motion, seeking attorney fees under the EAJA.
Jones asks for $2, 668.75, billed at a rate of $175 per hour,
to be paid directly to his attorney. He also asks for $262.75
for time spent by his attorney's staff, at a rate of $75
per hour. He attaches an affidavit itemizing these fees. In
total, Jones requests $2, 931.25. There is a question
concerning the timeliness of this motion.
Court finds that the motion is timely filed under Federal
Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(1)(B), despite United
States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947, 950 (6th Cir. 1981),
and grants Jones' motion.
the EAJA, “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
…, including proceedings for judicial review of agency
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).
A plaintiff must satisfy three conditions to recover attorney
fees: “(1) [Plaintiff] must be a ‘prevailing
party'; (2) the Government's opposing position must
have been without substantial justification; and (3) there
must be no special circumstances that warrant denying
relief.” DeLong v. Comm'r of SSA, 748 F.3d
723, 725 (6th Cir. 2014).
seeking an award of fees must apply within thirty days of the
final judgment in the action. 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(B).
The EAJA defines “final judgment” as one that is
final and not appealable. 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(2)(G).
Jones' Motion Is Timely
Commissioner agrees that Jones is the prevailing party; he
obtained a judgment and remand pursuant to sentence four of
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Shalala v. Schaefer, 509
U.S. 292, 302 (1993). Additionally, the Commissioner does not
argue that substantial justification or special circumstances
warrant a denial of fees. The Commissioner concedes that
Jones is entitled to an award of attorney fees, if his motion
was timely filed.
issue of timeliness depends on whether the judgment became
final on November 16, 2017 via the Walters rule -
when the Court adopted the R&R - or sixty days after that
- on January 15, 2018 - via Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(B). If
the Court applies the Walters rule, Jones would need
to have filed this motion by December 15, 2017. If the Court
applies Rule 4(a)(1)(B), the judgment would have been final
on January 15, 2018, sixty days ...