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Acuna v. Astrue

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


October 12, 2010

IRENE ACUNA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ralph Zarefsky United States Magistrate Judge

POST-REMAND ORDER RE ATTORNEY'S FEES PURSUANT TO 42 U.S.C. § 406(b)

On August 19, 2008, this Court awarded Plaintiff's counsel ("Plaintiff") $12,860 in attorney's fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b). Plaintiff appealed. While the appeal was pending, the Court of Appeals decided Crawford v. Astrue, 586 F.3d 1142 (9th Cir. 2009) (en banc). Subsequently, upon Plaintiff's unopposed motion, the Court of Appeals remanded to this Court, saying "The unopposed motion for remand to permit the district court to consider the case in light of Crawford v. Astrue, 586 F.3d 1142 (9th Cir. 2009) (en banc), is granted. VACATED AND REMANDED."

Upon receipt of the mandate, this Court called for briefing, directing the parties to address specifically any ways in which this Court's prior opinion was inconsistent with or affected by Crawford. The purpose of the Court's focused order for further briefing was to discern how to proceed, given that the appellate court had granted the motion, at Plaintiff's request, for remand in light of Crawford. The Court has tried to determine if its prior decision ran contrary to Crawford.

Unable to answer this question, the Court has revisited the matter, since the prior order was vacated. Although the Court considers the matter close, the Court finds that the requested fee, $17,000, is a reasonable fee under the circumstances of this particular case. Accordingly, the Commissioner shall pay Plaintiff's counsel, out of the past-due benefits, the sum of $17,000. Upon receipt of this sum, counsel shall refund to Plaintiff the sum of $3,200 previously awarded under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20101012

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