United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
March 20, 2014
SUE REBECCA BUTCHER, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ARLANDER KEYS, Magistrate Judge.
On February 8, 2012, the Commissioner filed a motion to remand the instant cause of action and reverse the Commissioner's decision [dkt. #20]. Plaintiff consented to the proposed action by Defendant, and on February 14, 2012 Judge St. Eve granted the remand [dkt. #25]. On March 15, 2012, Plaintiff filed a motion for attorney's fees [dkt. 26#], however, it was stricken by Judge Kendall on May 14, 2012, and a supplemental motion for attorney's fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act was to be filed by the end of the month [dkt. #33].
On July 3, 2012, Judge Kendall granted Plaintiff's supplemental motion for attorney's fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act [dkt. #37]. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a request for attorney's fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. response, stating that there was no objection to Ms. Butcher's [dkt. #38]. On August 27, 2012, the Commissioner filed her motion for attorney's fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b)(1) [dkt. #40].
Ms. Butcher's counsel, Mr. Charles E. Binder, seeks fees in the amount of $12, 000. On July 6, 2011, Ms. Butcher signed a Retainer Agreement and Assignment consenting to the law firm's application for fees, if her case was successfully remanded, that would not exceed 25% of the back due benefits awarded to her. Mr. Binder's requested fee of $12, 000 is less than the agreed 25%, and less than the amount being withheld from Plaintiff's past due benefits for the payment of legal fees. Although the Court would ordinarily find a $12, 000 fee for a total of 22 hours of work to be excessive, Mr. Binder did successfully procure a remand as well as a generous benefits package for Ms. Butcher upon remand. Accordingly, and with no objection from the Commissioner, the Court finds that Mr. Binder's fees are appropriate and the amount requested is granted. Upon receipt of this sum and the previously awarded Equal Access to Justice Act fees of $3, 908.52, counsel for Ms. Butcher is ordered to refund the lesser of the two fees directly to Plaintiff.
For the reasons set forth above, the petition for an award of attorney's fees filed by counsel for Ms. Butcher [dkt. #38], is granted. The Court awards fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) (1) to Attorney Charles E. Binder in the amount of $12, 000.