United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
OPINION AND ORDER
MICHAEL W. MOSMAN Chief United States District Judge
matter comes before me on Plaintiff Steven Yeaple's
Motion for Award of Fees & Costs Pursuant to the Equal
Access to Justice Act (EA J A) . For the reasons stated
below, I GRANT IN PART and DENY IN PART and award $10, 351.61
in fees (a 10% reduction) and $39.33 in costs.
Yeaple applied for Social Security disability benefits. An
administrative law judge found that he was not disabled and
denied his application. Compl. . The Appeals Council
denied review. Compl. . This Court reversed the
administrative law judge's decision and remanded for
further proceedings. Op. & Order .
prevailing party, Mr. Yeaple seeks fees and costs under the
Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412. Mot.
. He requests $11, 501.78 in fees and $39.33 in itemized
costs incurred. Reply .
Commissioner concedes Mr. Yeaple is entitled to some award
under the EAJA, but the Commissioner objects to the amount
requested on two grounds: first, that the number of hours
spent are unreasonable under the circumstances; and second,
that the billing records are "block-billed." Resp.
. The Commissioner asks the court to reduce the award to
$7, 000 (or by approximately 40%). Resp. .
who prevails against the United States in a civil action is
entitled, in certain circumstances, to an award of attorney
fees and costs under the EAJA. 28 U.S.C. § 2412. The
court must determine whether the requested fee amount is
reasonable, and may reduce an unreasonable request.
Stetson v. Grissom, 821 F.3d 1157, 1166-67 (9th Cir.
2016). In a social security case, reasonableness depends on
the complexity of the legal issues, the procedural history,
and the size of the record, among other factors. Costa v.
Comm 'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., 690 F.3d 1132, 1136
(9th Cir. 2012) (per curiam). The court has "wide
latitude in determining the number of hours that were
reasonably expended." Sorenson v. Mink, 239
F.3d 1140, 1146 (9th Cir. 2001).
billing records must enable the court to easily identify the
hours reasonably expended. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461
U.S. 424, 437 (1983), The court may reduce hours to offset
poorly documented billing. Fischer v. SJB-P.D. Inc,
214 F.3d 1115, 1121 (9th Cir. 2000).
Yeaple requests fees for 59.75 attorney-hours spent on his
case. Reply . His attorneys spent 10 hours reviewing the
record, 29.65 hours preparing the 40-page opening brief, and
15.85 hours preparing the reply. Wilborn Decl.  Ex. 1.
Yeaple argues the hours his attorneys spent are reasonable in
light of the complex record, the quality and length of the
briefs, and the Commissioner's contentious litigation
strategy. Reply . The Commissioner contends the hours are
unreasonable because the legal issues were routine, the
record not exceptionally long, and the issues not unduly
complicated. Resp. .
parties cite many cases where courts found a similar number
of hours either reasonable or unreasonable. These cases are
only marginally helpful to the case-specific analysis
required here; what was unreasonable in the context of one
case may be reasonable in this context, and vice versa.
See Costa, 690 F.3d at 1136 (questioning ...