A federal court judge ruled today that the Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) should pay my client’s legal fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) for pursuing an appeal even after the SSA offered to remand the case for another hearing before the SSA Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). I received a similar decision in another case about three months ago.
U.S. District Judge Hurley remanded the case for another hearing before the same ALJ, and then referred my motion for EAJA fees to U.S. Magistrate Judge William Wall. Today, Magistrate Judge Wall ruled that it was reasonable to award attorney fees for time I spent working on the claimant’s appeal after I refused to accept the SSA’s offer to remand the case. The EAJA award will reduce the claimant’s legal fees if, as anticipated, Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits are approved on remand.
Magistrate Judge Wall’s decision is significant because there are relatively few reported decisions where a plaintiff’s attorney has been awarded EAJA fees for time spent after the SSA offered a remand. The decision was also significant because it ruled that I was entitled to be reimbursed for Westlaw research costs.