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Wilma L. Hall v. Michael J. Astrue

June 18, 2012

WILMA L. HALL,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, J.

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Wilma L. Hall ("Plaintiff") filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial review of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration's ("Commissioner") final decision denying her application for Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b).

For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Plaintiff's Motion.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

Plaintiff was born on March 2, 1948. Plaintiff completed school through the twelfth grade and has relevant past work experience as an insurance claim adjuster, a job she held for fifteen years prior to the onset of the alleged disabilities. See Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J. 1, ECF No. 8; see also R&R 2, ECF No. 12.

Plaintiff alleges that her disability onset date is June 8, 2001, the day she stopped working at age fifty-three. Plaintiff claims that she is disabled due to the following conditions: degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, low back pain, panic disorder with agoraphobia, and major depression. See R&R 2. Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges that sufficient medical evidence establishes her disability.

B. Procedural History

Prior to Plaintiff filing suit with this Court on December 31, 2008, she pursued the appropriate administrative avenues. On June 12, 2006, Plaintiff filed applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. The state agency denied these applications and Plaintiff timely filed a request for a hearing. Id. at 1. On April 22, 2008, Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Stephen Bosch held a hearing, at which Plaintiff was found "not disabled and was not entitled to receive benefits." Id.

The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision on October 31, 2008, finalizing the Commissioner's determination to deny benefits. Plaintiff subsequently filed this complaint on December 31, 2008, seeking reversal of the ALJ's decision. Following a motion for summary judgment by Plaintiff, this case was referred to Magistrate Judge David R. Strawbridge for a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") on the matter. Therein, Plaintiff requested an entry of summary judgment in her favor, ruling that she is eligible to receive benefits, or, in the alternative, remand her case to the Commissioner for receipt of further evidence. In response, the Commissioner opposed an award of benefits and requested an affirmation of the ALJ's decision.

On July 31, 2009, Judge Strawbridge issued his R&R recommending that the decision of the Commissioner be vacated and the matter be remanded for review. On January 11, 2010, this Court overruled the Commissioner's objections to the R&R and approved and adopted Judge Strawbridge's R&R. See Hall v. Astrue, No. 08-6047, 2010 WL 92471 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 11, 2010).

On January 20, 2010, Plaintiff's attorney, Michael Boyle, filed a motion for attorney's fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412,*fn1 in the amount of $3,472.91. ECF No. 17. The Commissioner did not oppose this award, and the Court approved Mr. Boyle's application as unopposed. ECF No. 19.

After remand to the Commissioner, a hearing was held before ALJ Bosch on April 29, 2011. On May 9, 2011, ALJ Bosch found that Plaintiff was disabled since ...


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