United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES PURSUANT TO
42 U.S.C. § 406(B)
HONORABLE KENLY KIYA KATO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Miguel A. (“Plaintiff”)'s counsel, Denise
Bourgeois Haley of the Law Offices of Lawrence D. Rohlfing
(“Counsel”), filed a Motion for Attorney Fees
(“Motion”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b)
(“Section 406(b)”). The Motion seeks an award of
$25, 000.00 for representing Plaintiff in an action to obtain
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income with a refund to Plaintiff of $4, 100.00 for the Equal
Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) fees previously
awarded. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of
the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons stated below, the
Court GRANTS the Motion.
August 19, 2016, Plaintiff filed the Complaint in this
action. ECF Docket No. (“Dkt.”) 1, Compl.
Plaintiff alleged the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“Defendant”) improperly denied
Plaintiff's application for Title II Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”) and Title XVI Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”). Id. On June 4,
2019, the Court entered Judgment reversing the decision of
Defendant and remanding the case for further administrative
proceedings. Dkt. 40, Order; Dkt. 41, Judgment.
19, 2019, the Court issued an order approving the
parties' stipulation awarding EAJA fees to Counsel in the
amount of $4, 100.00. Dkt. 43, Order Approving EAJA Fees.
November 18, 2019, Counsel filed the instant Motion pursuant
to Section 406(b) seeking attorney fees in the amount of $25,
000.00 with a reimbursement to Plaintiff in the amount of $4,
100.00 for the EAJA fees previously paid. Dkt. 44, Mot.
Counsel states 24.6 hours of attorney and paralegal time were
spent representing Plaintiff in federal court. Dkt. 44 at
12-13, Declaration of Denise Bourgeois Haley (“Haley
Decl.”), ¶ 5. Counsel seeks compensation pursuant
to a contingency agreement dated March 3, 2015, which
provides if Plaintiff prevails in federal court,
Counsel's fee is “a separate 25% of the backpay
awarded upon reversal of any unfavorable ALJ decision for
work before the court.” Haley Decl., ¶ 2; Dkt.,
44-1, Social Security Representation Agreement at ¶ 4.
November 19, 2019, Counsel served Plaintiff with the Motion
and informed him that he had a right to file a response to
the Motion. Dkt. 44 at 14, Proof of Service. Plaintiff has
not filed a response.
December 2, 2019, Defendant filed a Response to the Motion.
Dkt. 45. Defendant “takes no position with regard to
the reasonableness” of the requested $25, 000.00 fee.
Id. at 5.
the Court deems this matter submitted.
to Section 406(b):
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,
and the Commissioner of Social Security may . . . certify the