United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Timothy M. Cain United States District Judge.
27, 2019, Plaintiff Alicia Wyatt (“Wyatt”) filed
a Motion for Attorney's Fees pursuant to the Equal Access
to Justice Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412,
on the bases that she was the prevailing party and that the
Commissioner's decision was not supported by substantial
evidence. (ECF No. 41). On April 24, 2019, Defendant
responded stating that he does not object to Plaintiff's
motion. (ECF No. 42).
the EAJA, a court shall award attorney's fees to a
prevailing party in certain civil actions against the
United States unless it finds that the government's
position was substantially justified or that special
circumstances make an award unjust. 28 U.S.C. §
2412(d)(1)(A). The district courts have discretion to
determine a reasonable fee award and whether that award
should be made in excess of the statutory cap. Pierce v.
Underwood, 487 U.S. 552 (1988); May v.
Sullivan, 936 F.2d 176, 177 (4th Cir. 1991). The
district courts also have broad discretion to set the
attorney fee amount. In determining the fee award,
“[e]xorbitant, unfounded, or procedurally defective fee
applications . . . are matters that the district court can
recognize and discount.” Hyatt v. North
Carolina Dep't of Human Res., 315 F.3d 239, 254
(4th Cir. 2002) (citing Comm'r v. Jean, 496 U.S.
154, 163 (1990)). Additionally, the court should not only
consider the “position taken by the United States in
the civil action, ” but also the “action or
failure to act by the agency upon which the civil action is
based.” 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(2)(D), as amended by
P.L. 99-80, § 2(c)(2)(B).
Plaintiff has asked for the payment of attorney's fees in
the amount of $3, 729.80, expenses in the amount of
$20.04. (ECF No. 41 at 2). Defendant responded,
stating that she did not object to the requested amount of
attorney's fees or expenses. (ECF No. 42). Despite there
being no objections, the court is obligated under the EAJA to
determine if the fee is proper. See Design & Prod.,
Inc. v. United States, 21 Cl. Ct. 145, 152 (1990)
(holding that under the EAJA, “it is the court's
responsibility to independently assess the appropriateness
and measure of attorney's fees to be awarded in a
particular case, whether or not an amount is offered as
representing the agreement of the parties in the form of a
proposed stipulation.”). Applying the above standard to
the facts of this case, the court concludes that the
Commissioner's position was not substantially justified.
Furthermore, after a thorough review of the record, the court
finds that the requested fees and expenses are appropriate.
Accordingly, the court GRANTS the Motion for
Attorney's Fees (ECF No. 41) as and orders that the
Plaintiff be awarded the $3, 729.80 in attorney's fees
and $20.04 in expenses, for a total award of $3,
IS SO ORDERED.
 Error! Main Document Only. On June 17,
2019, Andrew M. Saul became the Commissioner of Social
Security. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 25(d), he is automatically
substituted for Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill who was the
Acting Commissioner of Social Security when this action was
 A party who wins a remand pursuant to
sentence four of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), is a prevailing party for EAJA purposes. See
Shalala v. Schaefer, 509 U.S. 292, 300-302 (1993). The
remand in this case was made pursuant to sentence
 In the motion, Plaintiff refers to the
$20.04 as “costs.” (ECF No. 41 at 2). However, in
the supporting affidavit, Attorney Paul McChesney designates
this amount as “expenses” and itemizes such
expenses to be for certified mail fees (ECF No. 41-3 at 2).
Defendant refers to this amount as “expenses.”
(ECF No. 42). The court agrees that the requested $20.04
should be designated as “expenses.”
 The court notes that the fees must be
paid to Plaintiff. See Astrue v. Ratliff, 560 U.S.
586 (2010) (holding that the plain text of the EAJA requires
that attorney's fees be awarded to the litigant, thus
subjecting the EAJA fees to offset of any pre-existing
federal debts); see also Stephens ...