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Christine J. Smith v. Michael J. Astrue

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


March 16, 2011

CHRISTINE J. SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.

ORDER

Pending before the court is plaintiff's motion for an award of attorneys' fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d). Plaintiff seeks fees based on 2.15 hours in 2009 and 28.5 hours in 2010 at the rate of $172.24 per hour for attorney time, for a total amount of $5279.15. Dckt. No. 30. Defendant does not oppose the fee request, but contends that any fees must be made payable to plaintiff and not her attorney pursuant to Astrue v. Ratliff, 130 S.Ct. 2521, 2010 WL 2346547 (2010).

The EAJA directs the court to award a reasonable fee. In determining whether a fee is reasonable, the court considers the hours expended, the reasonable hourly rate and the results obtained. See Commissioner, INS v. Jean, 496 U.S. 154 (1990); Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424 (1983); Atkins v. Apfel, 154 F.3d 986 (9th Cir. 1998). In light of defendant's non-opposition to plaintiff's fee request, the request will be granted.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff's motion for attorney's fees, Dckt. No. 30, is granted;

2. Plaintiff is awarded attorney's fees under the EAJA in the amount of $5279.15; and

3. Pursuant to Astrue v. Ratliff, 130 S.Ct. 2521, 2010 WL 2346547 (2010), any payment shall be made payable to plaintiff and delivered to plaintiff's counsel, unless plaintiff does not owe a federal debt. If the United States Department of the Treasury determines that plaintiff does not owe a federal debt, the government shall accept plaintiff's assignment of EAJA fees and pay fees directly to plaintiff's counsel.

20110316

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