(SS)Brown v. Commissioner of Social Security, No. 1:2014cv01288 - Document 36 (E.D. Cal. 2018)

Court Description: ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS and GRANTING Motion for Attorney's Fees Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) 30 , 35 , signed by District Judge Dale A. Drozd on 11/30/2018. (Hellings, J)
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(SS)Brown v. Commissioner of Social Security Doc. 36 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 LORI ANN BROWN, 12 No. 1:14-cv-01288-DAD-SKO Plaintiff, 13 v. 14 NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security,1 15 Defendant. 16 ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS AND GRANTING MOTION FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES PURSUANT TO 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) (Doc. Nos. 30, 35) 17 After plaintiff successfully obtained reversal of an administrative decision denying her 18 19 application for Social Security disability benefits, defendant approved plaintiff’s claim for 20 benefits and awarded her $77,944.36 in back payments. (See Doc. No. 30.) Plaintiff’s counsel 21 thereafter filed a motion for attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) in the amount of 22 $19,486.09, equal to 25% of plaintiff’s back benefits, subject to a refund to plaintiff of $6,062.91 23 for attorney’s fees that were previously awarded pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act 24 (“EAJA”). (Id.) 25 1 26 27 28 On January 23, 2017, Nancy A. Berryhill became the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. See https://www.ssa.gov/agency/commissioner.html (last visited by the court on November 30, 2018). She is therefore substituted as the defendant in this action. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (referring to the “Commissioner’s Answer”); 20 C.F.R. § 422.210(d) (“[T]he person holding the Office of the Commissioner shall, in [her] official capacity, be the proper defendant.”). 1 Dockets.Justia.com 1 On July 23, 2018, the assigned magistrate judge issued an order requiring plaintiff and 2 defendant to file their responses in opposition or statements of non-opposition to plaintiff’s 3 counsel’s motion, if any, by August 20, 2018. (Doc. No. 31.) On August 8, 2018, defendant filed 4 a statement of non-opposition to the motion, acknowledging that defendant was not a party to the 5 fee agreement between plaintiff and her counsel and therefore “not in a position to either assent or 6 object to the § 406(b) fees that Counsel seeks from Plaintiff’s past-due benefits” and taking “no 7 position on the reasonableness of the request.” (Doc. No. 34 at 2–3.) Plaintiff did not file any 8 opposition to her counsel’s motion for attorney’s fees. 9 On September 11, 2018, the assigned magistrate judge issued findings and 10 recommendations recommending that the motion for an award of attorney’s fees be granted in the 11 amount of $19,486.09, subject to a refund to plaintiff of $6,062.91 in fees already awarded 12 pursuant to the EAJA. (Doc. No. 35.) The findings and recommendations provided that any 13 party could file objections thereto within fourteen (14) days. No objections were filed and the 14 time period for doing so has expired. 15 In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c), this court has conducted a 16 de novo review of this case. Having carefully reviewed the entire file, the court finds the findings 17 and recommendations to be supported by the record and proper analysis. 18 Accordingly, 19 1. 20 21 adopted in full; 2. 22 23 The findings and recommendations issued September 11, 2018 (Doc. No. 35) are The motion for attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) (Doc. No. 30) is granted in the amount of $19,486.09; and 3. Plaintiff’s counsel is ordered to refund to plaintiff $6,062.91 of the § 406(b) fees 24 awarded as an offset for EAJA fees previously awarded pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 25 2412(d) (Doc. No. 29). 26 27 28 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: November 30, 2018 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 2