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Hippler v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Oregon

July 27, 2015

DION WAYNE HIPPLER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. McSHANE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Dion Hippler filed this stipulated motion for attorney fees, ECF No. 30, in the amount of $5, 764.64 under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d). For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion, ECF No. 30, is GRANTED.

Under the EAJA, this Court "shall award to a prevailing party other than the United States fees and other expenses... incurred by that party in any civil action... unless [this Court] finds that the position of the United States was substantially justified or that special circumstances make an award unjust." 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A); Meier v. Colvin, 727 F.3d 867, 870 (9th Cir. 2013). If attorney fees are appropriate, this Court must then determine whether the amount of fees requested is reasonable. See, e.g., Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983).

Because defendant stipulates that plaintiff is entitled to attorney and paralegal fees, this Court's inquiry is limited to the reasonableness of plaintiff's petition. Under the EAJA, an award of attorney fees is limited to $125.00 per hour "unless the court determines that an increase in the cost of living or a special factor, such as the limited availability of qualified attorney for the proceeding involved, justifies a higher fee." 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(2)(A) (emphasis added); see also Thangaraja v. Gonzales, 428 F.3d 870, 876 (9th Cir. 2005) ("EAJA provides for an upward adjustment... based on cost-of-living-expenses." (citations omitted)). The cost-of-living adjustment is determined by multiplying the base EAJA rate ($125.00) by the current Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and then dividing the product by the CPI-U in the month that the cap was imposed. Id. at 877; Sorenson v. Mink, 239 F.3d 1140, 1148 (9th Cir. 2001).

Pursuant to these cost-of-living calculations, [1] plaintiff is awarded attorney fees at the hourly rate of $189.08 for 6.85 hours of work performed in 2014 and $189.08 for 22.9 hours of work performed in 2015. Plaintiff is also awarded paralegal fees at the hourly rate of $90 for $1.55 hours of work performed in 2014 and 2015. Accordingly, plaintiff is awarded attorney and paralegal fees in the amount of $5, 764.64.[2]

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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