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Bilak v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 15, 2014

LISA JILL BILAK, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant

Page 482

For LISA JILL BILAK, Plaintiff: AGNES S. WLADYKA, LEAD ATTORNEY, AGNES S. WLADYKA, LLC, MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ.

For COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant: SERGEI ADEN, LEAD ATTORNEY, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL REGION II, NEW YORK, NY.

OPINION

Page 483

Susan D. Wigenton, United States District Judge.

This matter comes before this Court by way of two motions pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d) (" EAJA" ): (1) Plaintiff Lisa Jill Bilak's (" Plaintiff" ) Motion for Attorney's Fees for Rutgers Urban Legal Clinic (" Rutgers" ), Plaintiff's counsel before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ('Third Circuit" ), and (2) Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees for Agnes D. Wladyka (" Wladyka" ), Plaintiff's counsel before this Court. (Dkt. No. 25, 33.) Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security (" Defendant" or " Commissioner" ), opposes both motions. (Dkt. No. 31, 36.) This matter is decided without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78. For the reasons set forth below, (1) Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees for Rutgers is GRANTED, and (2) Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees for Wladyka is also GRANTED.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On April 9, 2013, Plaintiff brought an action seeking review of ALJ Leonard Olarsch's (" ALJ" or " ALJ Olarsch" ) final decision denying Plaintiff's claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (" DIB" ) and Supplemental Security Income (" SSI" ) under Title II of the Social Security Act. On August 9, 2013, this Court issued an Opinion affirming the ALJ's decision. (Dkt. No. 17.)

On October 4, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal. (Dkt. No. 19.) On December 19, 2013, Plaintiff filed a brief before the Third Circuit, and on January 21, 2014, Defendant filed a brief in opposition. (Def.'s Second Opp'n Br., p. 1.) On March 24, 2014, the Third Circuit scheduled oral

Page 484

argument for April 7, 2014. ( Id.) On April 27, 2014, the Third Circuit granted the parties' joint Motion to Remand the case to Defendant pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further administrative proceedings. ( Id.) On May 29, 2014, the Third Circuit issued a mandate granting the Motion to Remand. (Dkt. No. 21.) Accordingly, on June 2, 2014, this Court issued an Order remanding the case to Defendant with instructions for the ALJ. (Dkt. No. 23.)

On June 13, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Attorney's Fees for Rutgers, requesting $25,227, reflecting 129.75 hours of attorney time at a rate of $195.18 per hour, for work performed before the Third Circuit. (Dkt. No. 25; Def.'s Second Opp'n Br. 1.) On June 23, 2014, Defendant filed a brief in opposition. (Dkt. No. 26.) On July 2, 2014, Plaintiff filed a reply brief in which Rutgers amended its request to $27,276.40, for 139.75 hours of attorney time. ( Id.; Dkt. No. 31.)

On August 20, 2014, Plaintiff filed a separate Motion for Attorney's Fees for Wladyka, requesting fees of $6,930.62, for 36.5 hours of attorney time at a rate of $189.88 per hour for ...


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