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Brown v. Barnhart

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


October 12, 2005

CARL L. BROWN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JO ANNE BARNHART, COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Emmet G. Sullivan United States District Judge

ORDER

Pending before the Court is plaintiff's Application for Attorney Fees arising out of plaintiff's claim for retroactive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Plaintiff requests a total of $10,564.82 in attorney fees, summarized as follows:

29.81 hours of attorney time x $156.87/hr = $4,564.82

80 hours of student time x $75/hour = $6,000 Defendant concedes that plaintiff is a "prevailing party" for the purposes of the Equal Access to Justice Act, but argues that the amount of time spent by the students was "unreasonable" and that a "very knowledgeable" social security lawyer would "probably" charge a fee of from $3,000 to $5,000 for the work done in this case.

Upon consideration of plaintiff's motion, however, the Court is persuaded that the request for attorney fees is reasonable. In Jordan v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 691 F.2d 514, 524-25 (D.C. Cir. 1982), the Court held that fee allowances for student legal work should be "measured by the market value of the services rendered." Here, there is no indication that the value of services performed by the students exceeded the market value. Plaintiff seeks reimbursement for only 80 of the 134 hours the students actually spent working on the case and bills at a $75/hr rate, a rate which is well within rates provided under the updated Laffey Matrix. See, e.g., Salazar v. District of Columbia, 123 F. Supp. 2d 8 (D.D.C. 2000).

Accordingly, it is hereby

ORDERED that plaintiff's Application for Attorney Fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act is GRANTED; and it is

FURTHER ORDERED that the defendant shall pay to the George Washington University Law School, for the support of public interest law practice by lawyers and law students working in the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics, the amount of $10,564.82.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20051012

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