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Benzel v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

February 9, 2015

Edwin A. Benzel, Plaintiff,
v.
Carolyn D. Colvin, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

ORDER

RICHARD MARK GERGEL, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for approval of attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. § 406(b). (Dkt. No. 26). Plaintiff has informed the Court that he was ultimately awarded $109, 782 in back Social Security disability benefits, which would entitle his counsel to a 25% contingency fee of $27, 445.50 under the attorney fee agreement. (Dkt. No. 26-1 at 4). Plaintiff's counsel has requested, however, a total fee award for court related representation of $17, 445.50 and indicated that he may also seek with the Social Security Administration an award of attorneys' fees for agency representation not to exceed 25% of the total award. ( Id. ) Plaintiff has attached to this motion an executed attorney fee agreement providing for payment of a contingency fee of 25% of the any back benefits award. (Dkt. No. 26-3). Counsel for Plaintiff has further informed the Court that this award is subject to offset from a previous award under the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA") of $5, 456.60. (Dkt. No. 26-1 at 4). The Defendant has advised the Court that she does not oppose the approval of Plaintiff's attorney fee of $17, 445.50 so long as Plaintiff's counsel refunds to his client upon receipt of the § 406(b) award the previous award under EAJA. (Dkt. No. 27).

The Court has reviewed the Plaintiff's motion in light of the standards set forth in Grisbrecht v, Barnhart, 535 U.S. 789, 808 (2002). The Court finds that pursuant to the Grisbrecht standards the proposed fee is reasonable and grants the Plaintiff's motion to approve the fee in the amount of $17, 445.50. Since Plaintiff is entitled to an offset for previously awarded EAJA fees, Plaintiff's counsel is directed that upon receipt of the fee award approved herein to refund to Plaintiff $5, 456.60.

AND IT IS SO ORDERED.


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