Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Brown v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

April 9, 2014

JACK JAY BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant

Page 1052

For Jack Jay Brown, Plaintiff: Catherine G. Ratliff, LEAD ATTORNEY, RATLIFF LAW FIRM, Hot Springs, SD.

For Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant: Lynnett M. Wagner, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE - OMAHA, Omaha, NE.

For Office of General Counsel Social Security Administration, Interested Party: Office of General Counsel Social Security Administ, LEAD ATTORNEY, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION - KANSAS CITY, Kansas City, MO.

OPINION

Page 1053

Richard G. Kopf, Senior United States District Judge.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff's counsel has applied for an award of reasonable fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. § 2412 (filing 26).[1] She requests an attorney's fee of $10,628.42, for 59.67 hours of work (computed at an hourly rate of $178.12),[2] plus expenses (for service by certified mail and PACER fees) of $35.45. The Commissioner does not dispute that an award should be made to Plaintiff under the EAJA,[3] but does object that the number of hours claimed by Plaintiff's counsel is excessive (filing 28). This objection is well taken.

Plaintiff's counsel is an experienced Social Security practitioner who provided excellent representation to her client, but the number of hours she devoted to this case is abnormally high. Counsel's time records indicate (in rounded numbers) that she spent 4 hours getting the case on file and obtaining service of process, 9 hours reviewing and summarizing the administrative record (of 670 pages),[4] 7 hours researching legal, medical, and other issues, 26 hours drafting a 35-page opening brief, and 12 hours reviewing the Commissioner's brief and drafting a 13-page reply. She also spent 90 minutes preparing the EAJA fee application and supporting brief.

The Commissioner has declared in this and other cases that " [a]s a general rule of thumb, attorneys experienced in Social Security disability litigation are typically awarded compensation for 30 to 40 hours in this District" (filing 28 at 3). My own survey of decisions reported in Westlaw indicates that the " typical" range in this district may be somewhat lower.

There are 20 reported decisions awarding EAJA fees for Social Security disability cases in which the plaintiff filed at least 2 briefs on the merits.[5] See Fickler v. Colvin, No. 8:11CV440, 2013 WL 3270579 (D.Neb. June 26, 2013) (Gerrard, J.) ($6,571.19 awarded based on 26.0 hours of attorney time and 19.8 hours of legal assistant time; no objection by Commissioner);

Page 1054

Larson v. Colvin, No. 4:12CV3010, 2013 WL 1748426 (D.Neb. Apr. 23, 2013) (Urbom, J.) ($5,695.52 awarded based on 31.05 hours of attorney time; no objection by Commissioner); Arriaga v. Colvin, No. 8:11CV261, 2013 WL 1629203 (D.Neb. Apr. 16, 2013) (Urbom, J.) ($6,216.88 awarded based on 34.3 hours of attorney time; no objection by Commissioner); Redwine v. Astrue, No. 8:10CV286, 2012 WL 5864040 (D.Neb. Nov. 16, 2012) (Bataillon, J.) ($6,080.00 awarded based on 35.25 hours of attorney time; no objection by Commissioner); Lorsung v. Astrue, No. 4:10CV3213, 2012 WL 3905093 (D.Neb. Sep. 6, 2012) (Bataillon, J.) ($4,828.72 awarded based on 27.5 hours of attorney time; no objection by Commissioner); Thomas v. Astrue, No. 4:10CV3250, 2012 WL 3263629 (D.Neb. Aug. 9, 2012) (Zwart, M.J.) ($3,831.35 awarded based on 16.3 hours of attorney time and 34.59 hours of paralegal time; Commissioner's objections sustained in part); Easterbrook v. Astrue, No. 4:09CV3239, 2012 WL 1869564 (D.Neb. May 22, 2012) (Bataillon, J.) ($7,898.46 awarded based on 40.8 hours of attorney time, 18.5 hours of paralegal time, and 8.78 hours of law clerk time; Commissioner's objections sustained); Sahs v. Astrue, No. 4:10CV3161, 832 F.Supp.2d 1066 (D.Neb. Dec. 16, 2011) (Kopf, J.) ($8,425.80 awarded based on 38.8 hours of attorney time, 10.55 hours of paralegal time, and 40.87 hours of law clerk time; Commissioner's objections overruled; additional $87.50 awarded based on 0.5 hours of attorney time for reply brief); Campbell v. Astrue, No. 4:09CV3237, 2011 WL 2632533 (D.Neb. July 5, 2011) (Bataillon, J.) ($6,100.37 awarded based on 34.85 hours of attorney time and 21.40 hours of paralegal and law clerk time; no objection by Commissioner); Kissel v. Astrue, No. 8:08CV513, 2009 WL 3818790 (D.Neb. Nov. 12, 2009) (Bataillon, J.) ($4,579.60 awarded based on 26.7 hours of attorney time; no objection by Commissioner); Neemann v. Astrue, No. 8:08CV286, 2009 WL 3165444 (D.Neb. Sept. 29, 2009) (Bataillon, J.) ($3,816.25 awarded based on 23.5 hours of attorney time; no objection by Commissioner); Marek v. Astrue, No. 8:08CV31, 2009 WL 2003330 (D.Neb. July 2, 2009) (Bataillon, J.) ($5,725.37 awarded based on 32.6 hours of attorney time; no objection by Commissioner); Swanberg v. Astrue, No. 8:07CV420, 2008 WL 4482824 (D.Neb. May 15, 2009) (Kopf, J.) ($2,283.75 awarded based on 13.05 hours of attorney time; no objection by Commissioner); Jezbera v. Astrue, No. 4:07CV3217, 2008 WL 4186240 (D.Neb. Sept. 8, 2008) (Kopf, J.) ($4,100.56 awarded based on 24.5 hours of attorney time; no objection by Commissioner); Manuel v. Social Sec. Admin., No. 8:07CV181, 2008 WL 2444713 (D.Neb. June 17, 2008) (Urbom, J.) ($6241.00 awarded based on 37.6 hours of attorney time; no objection by Commissioner); Davis v. Astrue, No. 4:06CV3291, 2008 WL 2437046 (D.Neb. June 10, 2008) (Bataillon, J.) ($6,400.00 awarded based on settlement with Commissioner; plaintiff had requested $6818.53 based on 36.3 hours of attorney time ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.