United States District Court, D. Oregon
TERRY LEE PARRISH, Legal Representative for the Estate of Dana Michael Parrish, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION,  Defendant.
J. MESEROW Attorney for Plaintiff
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney, MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief
Counsel MICHAEL S. HOWARD Special Assistant United States
Attorney Attorneys for Defendant
J. BROWN United States Senior District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Terry Lee
Parrish's Motion (#27) for Fees, Costs and Expenses
Pursuant to Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). In his Motion
Plaintiff seeks $13, 996.89 in attorneys' fees and $20.00
in costs and expenses. Defendant opposes Plaintiff's
Motion on the basis that the amount of attorneys' fees
sought is unreasonable. Defendant does not oppose
Plaintiff's request for $20.00 in costs and expenses.
record the Court AWARDS attorneys' fees to Plaintiff in
the amount of $11, 296.19 and costs and expenses in the
amount of $20.00.
EAJA the Court may award attorneys' fees and costs to a
plaintiff's attorney in an action against the United
States or any agency or official of the United States if
(1) the plaintiff is the prevailing party, (2) the government
has not met its burden to show that its positions were
substantially justified or that special circumstances make an
award unjust, and (3) the requested attorney's fees and
costs are reasonable.
28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(1)(A). See also Perez-Arellano
v. Smith, 279 F.3d 791, 792 (9th Cir. 2002).
“prevailing party” is one who has been awarded
relief by the court on the merits of at least some of his
claims. Hanrahan v. Hampton, 446 U.S. 754, 758
(1980). “Enforceable judgments and court-ordered
consent decrees create ‘the material alteration of the
legal relationship of the parties' necessary to permit an
award of attorney's fees.” Buckhannon Bd. and
Care Home, Inc. v. W.Va. Dep't of Health and Human
Res., 532 U.S. 598, 604 (2001)(internal citation
prevailing plaintiff is not entitled to attorneys' fees
under EAJA when the Commissioner's positions were
substantially justified. Lewis v. Barnhart, 281 F.3d
1081, 1083 (9th Cir. 2002). The Commissioner's positions
are substantially justified if they are reasonably based in
both law and fact. Id. (citing Pierce v.
Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 566 n.2 (1988)). The
Commissioner's failure to prevail on the merits of his
positions does not raise a presumption of unreasonableness.
U.S. v. Marolf, 277 F.3d 1156, 1162 (9th Cir.
2002)(citing Kali v. Bowen, 854 F.2d 329, 332 (9th
EAJA the hourly rate for attorneys' fees is capped at
$125.00, but the statute allows the Court to make adjustments
for cost of living or other appropriate “special
factor[s].” 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(2)(A). If the
government acts in bad faith, however, fees may be awarded at
the market rate rather than at the EAJA-mandated rate. 28
U.S.C. § 2412(b), (c). See also Brown v.
Sullivan, 916 F.2d 492, 497 (9th Cir. 1990)(“The
district court may award attorney fees at market rates for
the entire course of litigation . . . if it finds that the
fees incurred during the various phases of litigation are in
some way traceable to the Secretary's bad faith.”).
The “bad faith exception is ‘a narrow one, '
typically invoked in cases of 'vexatious, wanton, or
oppressive conduct.'” Id. at 495 (quoting
Barry v. Bowen, 825 F.2d 1324, 1334 (9th Cir. 1987)
and citing F.D. Rich Co. v. United States ex rel. Indus.
Lumber Co., 417 U.S. 116 (1979)). The bad-faith
exception “is punitive, and the penalty can be imposed
‘only in exceptional cases and for dominating reasons
of justice.'” Beaudry Motor Co. v. Abko Prop.
Inc., 780 F.2d 751, 756 (9th Cir. 1986)(quoting
United States v. Standard Oil Co., 603 F.2d 100, 103
(9th Cir. 1979)).
court may reduce an award of attorneys' fees under EAJA
when the plaintiff's requested fees are unreasonable.
Costa v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., No.
11-35245, 2012 WL 3631255, at *2 (9th Cir. Aug. 24,
2012)(citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 2412(d)(1)(A),
2412(d)(2)(A)). The court applies the “lodestar”
method set forth in Hensley v. Eckerhart to
determine whether a fee award is reasonable. Id.
(citing 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983)). See also Comm'r,
INS v. Jean, 496 U.S. 154, 161 (1990)(Under EAJA
“the district court's task of determining what fee
is reasonable is essentially the same as that described in
calculate the “lodestar” amount, the court
multiplies “the number of hours reasonably expended on
the litigation . . . by a reasonable hourly rate.”
Costa, 2012 WL 3631255, at *2 (quoting
Hensley, 461 U.S. at 433). To calculate the number
of hours reasonably expended, the court considers
“whether, in light of the ...