Kavanaugh v. Astrue
A court can award attorneys' fees to a "prevailing party," pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 United States Code §2412. The plaintiff, James Kavanaugh, requested an award of attorneys' fees and costs, pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, after the court remanded the plaintiff's suit to the Social Security Administration. "Because the plaintiff prevailed in the litigation," wrote the District Court, "he is entitled to an award of attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act." An award of attorneys' fees can be offset, if the prevailing party owes money to the government. Although attorneys' fees are payable to the prevailing party, as opposed to the prevailing party's attorney, the court authorized the award of the plaintiff's attorneys' fees directly to his attorney, provided that the plaintiff establishes that he owes no debt to the government and that he assigned his attorneys' fee to his lawyer. The court approved an award of $7,301 in attorneys' fees and costs.