Claimant replies that courts routinely add cost of living adjustments to the $ 75.00 EAJA rate. Boyce v. Sullivan, 754 F.Supp. 126, 129 (N.D. Ill. 1990). Claimant has not replied to the Secretary's statement that claimant has not submitted evidence as to the prevalent hourly rate for counsel of similar experience.
Claimant's attorneys submitted evidence on their experience. Ms. Villasenor works for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago (LAFC). From March 1987 until November 1990, approximately seventy percent of her caseload involved administrative work and litigation in the area of government benefits. Ms. Lenzy also works for LAFC and has worked on various administrative appeals. The court notes that claimant has not submitted evidence as to the prevalent rate of similarly experienced attorneys.
Although the court finds that the $ 109 and $ 90 hourly rate requests are reasonable, the rates awarded must be consistent with the EAJA $ 75 per hour cap.
"Fees and other expenses" includes . . . reasonable attorney fees . . . except that (ii) attorney fees shall not be awarded in excess of $ 75 per hour unless the court determines that an increase in the cost of living or a special factor, such as the limited availability of qualified attorneys for the proceedings involved, justifies a higher fee.
28 U.S.C.A. § 2412(d)(2)(A)(ii) (emphasis added). The Seventh Circuit has acknowledged this court's authority to consider cost of living increases to enhance the fee rate. Hicks v. Bowen, 702 F.Supp. 648, 651 (1988). The court will adjust claimant's counsels' hourly rates so as to comply with the EAJA.
b. Reasonable Hours
The Secretary objects to 2.81 hours expended by claimant's attorney to obtain extensions of time and 6.33 hours in which claimant's attorney consulted with other attorneys. Claimant states that the time her attorneys spent consulting with more experienced attorneys was necessary to insure that she was represented in an efficient and competent manner. Claimant does not request compensation for these more experienced attorneys with whom her counsel consulted. Claimant has not addressed the reasonableness of the hours expended by attorney Villasenor to obtain extensions of time.
The court finds the consultation hours to be reasonable. Consultation with other experienced attorneys, who are not billing for the time, may actually decrease the time necessary to devote to a case. However, the court finds that the hours expended for obtaining extensions of time were not reasonably necessary.
The court shall determine the fee award consistent with the foregoing findings.
ATTORNEY'S FEES ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION ACCORDING TO THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX FOR URBAN CONSUMERS (CPI-U)
CPI-U, Oct, 1981 (the month the EAJA went into effect) 279.9.
CPI-U, Annual Average, 1987 = 340.4
340.4 - 279.9 = 60.5
60.5/279.9 = 21.61%
21.61% at $ 75 = $ 16.21
$ 16.21 at $ 75 = $ 91.21
CPI-U, Ann. Avg., 1988 = 354.3
354.3 - 279.9 = 74.4
74.4/279.9 = 26.58%
26.58% at $ 75 = $ 19.94
$ 19.94 $ 75 = $ 94.94.
CPI-U, Ann. Avg., 1989 = 371.3
371.3 - 279.9 = 91.4
91.4/279.9 = 32.65%
32.65% $ at 75 $ 24.49
$ 24.49 $ 75 = $ 99.49
CPI-U, Ann. Avg., 1990 = 391.4
391.4 - 279.9 = 111.50
111.50/279.9 = 39.84%
39.84% at $ 75 = $ 29.88
$ 29.80 $ 75 = $ 104.88
Year Tot Hrs at Adjusted Rate = Tot Fees
1987 3.00 at $ 91.21 = $ 273.63
1988 40.90 at $ 94.94 = $ 3,883.05
1989 2.82 at $ 99.49 = $ 280.56
1990 8.21 at $ 104.88 = $ 861.06
CPI-U, Average (January - March), 1991 = 403.73
403.73 - 279.9 = 123.83
123.83/279.9 = 44.24%
44.24% at $ 75 = $ 33.18
$ 33.18 $ 75 = $ 108.18
Claimant has requested $ 90 per hour for Ms. Lenzy's services. $ 90 per hour is below the EAJA maximum, inflation-adjusted rate of $ 108.18 Therefore, the court will award claimant's requested $ 90 hourly rate.
Year Tot Hrs at Requested Rate = Tot Fees
1991 31.65 at $ 90.00 = $ 2,848.50
5,298.30 $ 2,848,50 = $ 8,146.80
TOTAL ATTORNEY FEES = $ 8,146.80
ORDERED: The court enters final judgment for claimant, Glendine Burr, that she is disabled under the Social Security Act since June 20, 1985, and that her disability has continued at least through the date of the Administrative Law Judge's decision.
The court awards attorney fees of $ 8,146.80 for Glendine Burr and against Louis Sullivan, M.D., Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.
George W. Lindberg
United States District Judge
Date: JAN 16 1992
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