United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR
ATTORNEY’S FEES UNDER 42 U.S.C. § 406(B) (DOC.
M. SNYDER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
25, 2014, Plaintiff, by and through his attorney, Jacqueline
A. Forslund, filed a complaint challenging the denial of his
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income by the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”). Doc. 1. On December 30, 2015,
the Court issued an order remanding the action for
calculation of benefits. Doc. 25. Thereafter, the parties
stipulated to an award of attorney’s fees totaling $6,
500 under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), which the
Court approved. Doc. 28.
the Court now is Plaintiff’s motion for
attorney’s fees under 42 U.S.C. § 406(b), by which
Ms. Forslund requests fees for time expended in this case.
Doc. 29. The Commissioner responded. Doc. 31. No hearing was
held as the Court found the motion suitable for decision
without oral argument. Local Rule 230(g).
the parties are sufficiently familiar with the factual and
procedural history of this case, the Court will not recount
it in detail here, discussing only what is relevant for
purposes of this order.
to the motion here is the contingency agreement between
Plaintiff and the Dellert Baird Law Offices, PLLC, through
which Ms. Forslund is associated. Plaintiff signed the
agreement on July 22, 2014, whereby he authorized Dellert
Baird to seek fees from his “past due benefits totaling
up to 25% of all past due benefits” under section
406(b) if he is awarded benefits by the Court or the Social
Security Administration (SSA) after remand for further
proceedings. Doc. 29-1.
motion, Ms. Forslund requests a fee of $17, 125.00 for 37.8
hours expended in this case before the Court. She contends
the fees requested are reasonable and based on an enforceable
contingency fee agreement. She asserts that, at a minimum,
Plaintiff received standard representation, no excessive
delay resulted, and the fees requested are not a windfall.
Ms. Forslund submitted for the Court’s review the
(1) the contingency agreement between Plaintiff and Dellert
(2) the SSA’s Notice of Award letter to Plaintiff,
dated May 3, 2016, informing him that $24, 798.00, a fee no
larger than 25% of past due benefits, is withheld for
attorney’s fees; and
(3) an itemized statement of the time she expended on this
case before the Court, showing hours totaling 37.8.
taking a formal position, the Commissioner only directs the
Court’s attention to the “effective hourly rate,
” which she calculates to be $656.03 per hour using the
amount the SSA is withholding for attorney’s fees ($24,
798.00 ÷ 37.8).
406(b) provides, ...