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Tracy Wilson v. Michael J. Astrue

October 19, 2011

TRACY WILSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Mcdermott United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER RE: MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES

I. INTRODUCTION

On May 12, 2011, this Court reversed the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits to Plaintiff Tracy M. Wilson, and remanded the case to the Commissioner for further proceedings pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Now before the Court is Plaintiff's Petition for Attorney's Fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2412, in the amount of $8,517.11. This amount includes $359 for two hours of time spent preparing the fee petition.

The Commissioner opposes Petitioner's fee request as excessive and requests that Plaintiff be awarded only $4,832.11 for merits work. In her reply, Wilson seeks additional compensation of $807.35 for preparing her fee reply brief, for a total of $9,324.46 for both merits and fees work.

For the reasons explained below, the Court awards Plaintiff $8,651.67 in fees.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a 36 year old female who alleged bilateral carpel tunnel syndrome, tendinitis in her arms and back, bilateral hip injuries, pain in back, shoulders, neck and arms, dyslexia, and cardiac complications. The ALJ determined that Wilson had the medically determinable severe impairments of major depressive disorder, panic disorder, myofascial neck strain, fibromyalgia, and a history of myocarditis. Nonetheless, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform light work with certain limitations and that there are jobs in the national economy that Plaintiff could perform. The ALJ also made an adverse credibility determination.

Plaintiff raised five issues for reversal:

1. Whether the ALJ committed reversible error in failing to provide any reasons for rejecting the testimony of Ms. Wilson's husband as required.

2. Whether the ALJ committed reversible error in failing to set forth the requisite "specific and legitimate" reasons for rejecting the opinion of Dr. Diaz, Ms. Wilson's long-time treating physician.

3. Whether the ALJ's mental residual functional capacity assessment is based on substantial evidence because it failed to incorporate the findings of Dr. Wendel, a consultative psychologist or the ALJ's own finding that Ms. Wilson has moderate deficiencies of concentration, persistence, or pace.

4. Whether the ALJ properly evaluated Ms. Wilson's subjective complaints.

5. Whether the Commissioner sustained his burden of establishing that there is other work in the national ...


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