U.S. Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Procedure – EAJA
An attorney seeking enhanced fees under the EAJA need only show that the requested rate is consistent with those charged in the area for comparable work.
“While the CPI suffices as proof of an increase in the cost of living, claimants must still produce satisfactory evidence that the increase in the cost of living ‘justifies’ the rate re-quested. 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d)(2)(A)(ii). So claimants must produce evidence that the rate they request is in line with those prevailing in the community for similar services by lawyers of comparable skill and experience. The affidavits submitted in this case are more than sufficient for this purpose. Indeed, a district court might find, in its discretion, a single sworn statement from a claimant’s attorney, setting forth the prevailing market rate, to be sufficient in some cases. But to avoid the possibility of a ‘windfall,’ courts may not award an inflation-adjusted rate that is higher than the prevailing market rate in the community for comparable le-gal services. See Brungardt v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 234 Fed. App’x 889, 891 (11th Cir. 2007) (unpublished) (per curiam) (approving district court’s decision ‘to account for the cost of living’ in its fee award, ‘but not to exceed the fair market rate’).”
Vacated and Remanded.
13-3654 Sprinkle v. Colvin
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Norgle, J., Williams, J.