Tobeler v. Colvin, No. 12-16392 (9th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff appealed the district court's order denying his motion for attorney's fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. 2412. The court concluded that the underlying agency action lacked a reasonable basis in law because the Social Security ALJ disregarded competent lay witness evidence on plaintiff's symptoms without comment. The court concluded that, because the ALJ disregarded competent lay witness evidence without comment, the position of the United States in the underlying action was not substantially justified. Because the government's underlying position was not substantially justified, the court awarded fees, even if the government's litigation position may have been justified. Therefore, plaintiff was entitled to an award of attorney's fees. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded.