United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER AWARDING ATTORNEY FEES PURSUANT TO 42 U.S.C.
FREDERICK F. MUMM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
remand, the Social Security Administration
(“Defendant”) awarded plaintiff Matthew Kyle
Kanoff (“Plaintiff”) $97, 088 in past-due
benefits. Now pending before the Court is the petition of
Plaintiff's counsel for attorney fees in the amount of
$17, 000.00 for Plaintiff's representation in this
has filed a response to Plaintiff's motion that neither
opposes nor assents to the relief requested by counsel. After
careful consideration, the Court finds in this case that the
$17, 000 requested for 18.8 hours of attorney time and 3.5
hours of paralegal time is reasonable.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
counsel brings this petition pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§406(b). Section 406(b) provides in relevant part:
Whenever a court renders a judgment favorable to a claimant
under this subchapter who was represented before the court by
an attorney, the court may determine and allow as part of its
judgment a reasonable fee for such representation, not in
excess of 25 percent of the total of the past-due benefits to
which the claimant is entitled by reason of such judgment . .
Gisbrecht, the Supreme Court resolved a division
among the federal circuits on the appropriate method of
calculating attorney fees under §406(b). Rejecting the
“lodestar method” which several of the circuits
(including the Ninth Circuit) had been applying, the Supreme
[Section] 406(b) does not displace contingent-fee agreements
as the primary means by which fees are set for successfully
representing Social Security benefits claimants in court.
Rather, §406(b) calls for court review of such
arrangements as an independent check, to assure that they
yield reasonable results in particular cases. Congress has
provided one boundary line: Agreements are unenforceable to
the extent that they provide for fees exceeding 25 percent of
the past-due benefits. . . . Within the 25 percent boundary,
. . . the attorney for the successful claimant must show that
the fee sought is reasonable for the services rendered.
535 U.S. at 807 (footnotes omitted).
determining whether the amount of fees sought by
Plaintiff's counsel is “reasonable for the services
rendered” here, the Court has considered a number of
factors. Several of these factors fall in favor of
Gisbrecht, the starting point of the analysis is the
agreement between Plaintiff and his counsel. Here, the
relevant terms of the contingent fee agreement between
Plaintiff and Plaintiff's counsel are as follows:
If this matter requires judicial review of any adverse
decision of the Social Security Administration, the fee for
successful prosecution of this matter is a separate
25% of the backpay awarded upon reversal ofany unfavorable ...