United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
Hanovice Palermo United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for attorney's
fees. Pl.'s Mot., ECF No. 17. The Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration's (“the
Commissioner”) did not file a response and Plaintiff
represents that she does not oppose the motion. Id.
at 6. Based on the briefing, the evidence and
the applicable law, the Court determines that Plaintiff's
motion should be granted as modified below.
December 20, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary
judgment, requesting judicial review of the
Commissioner's decision denying his application for
disability insurance benefits. Pl.'s Mot., ECF No. 13. On
January 25, 2019, the Commissioner filed a cross motion,
seeking judgment in her favor. Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 14.
On March 28, 2019, this Court entered a Memorandum &
Order, granting Plaintiff's motion and remanding this
case to the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).
M&O, ECF No. 15. On the same date, this Court entered a
Final Judgment. Final Judg't, ECF No. 16.
filed the current motion under the Equal Access to Justice
Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C § 241, seeking an
award of his attorney's fees. Pl.'s Mot., ECF No. 17
at 2-3. Plaintiff submitted an itemized statement in support.
ECF No. 17-1.
ATTORNEY'S FEES UNDER THE EAJA
EAJA permits the recovery of attorney's fees in
proceedings for judicial review of an agency's action. 28
U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A). The purpose is to “ensure
adequate representation of those who need it and to minimize
the cost of this representation to taxpayers.” Day
v. Comm'r, No. 6:16-CV-210, 2017 WL 4922048, at *1
(E.D. Tex. Oct. 31, 2017); see Murkeldove v. Astrue, et
al., 635 F.3d 784, 793 (5th Cir. 2011) (purpose is to
eliminate the financial disincentive for an average person to
challenge unreasonable government actions). Under the EAJA, a
party is entitled to recover attorney's fees from the
United States when, at a minimum, the following four elements
are met: (1) he is a prevailing party; (2) he timely files a
fee application supported by an itemized statement; (3) the
court finds the position of the government, in the
administrative proceedings as well as before the Court, was
not substantially justified; and (4) no special circumstances
make an award unjust. Perales v. Casillas, 950 F.2d
1066, 1072 (5th Cir. 1992); Mesecher v. Berryhill,
No. 4:15-CV-0859, 2017 WL 4417682, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Oct. 3,
2017); Benoit v. Astrue, No. H-07-2939, 2008 WL
3928026, at *1 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 27, 2008).
PLAINTIFF SATISFIES THE EAJA REQUIREMENTS
careful review of the evidence and law, the Court finds that
the Plaintiff has met the four requirements for an award of
attorney's fees under the EAJA.
secured a remand under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). When the district court remands a social security
action under sentence four of § 405(g), the claimant is a
prevailing party. Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292,
299-301 (1993); Day, 2017 WL 4922048, at *1. Thus,
Plaintiff satisfied the first element.
timely filed his motion for attorney's fees. The party
seeking fees is required to submit an application to the
court “within thirty days of final judgment in the
action….” 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(B).
“The district court's judgment becomes final when
it can no longer be appealed.” Murkeldove, 635
F.3d at 792.
Rule 4(a) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
establishes that, in a civil case to which a federal officer
is a party, the time for appeal does not end until 60 days
after “entry of judgment, ” and that a judgment
is considered entered for purposes of the rule only if it has
been ‘entered in compliance with Rul[e] 58 … of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Shalala, 509 U.S. at 303 (citations omitted). Rule
58 requires the district court to issue its judgment in a
separate document. Id.
case, the Court issued a final judgment on March 28, 2019;
and it became final sixty days later on May 27, 2019. Final
Judg't, ECF No. 13. Plaintiff had thirty days from May
27, 2019 to file his motion for attorney's fees. Because
Plaintiff filed his ...