Mastrio v. Sebelius, No. 13-2529 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
The government appealed the district court's award of attorneys' fees and costs in favor of plaintiff. The district court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) reinstating plaintiff's home health care benefits. The benefits were awarded to her based on her "prevailing party" status for purposes of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. 2412(d). The court held that while the TRO caused plaintiff's coverage to be reinstated shortly after it had been terminated, the effect was simply a return to the status quo. Therefore, the issuance of the TRO is an insufficient basis on which to find that plaintiff was a prevailing party entitled to an award of fees and costs under the EAJA. Further, the TRO involved no determination on the merits of plaintiff's claims. Accordingly, the court reversed the order and judgment of the district court.