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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Wiley Rein Attorneys Secure District Court Remand for Disability Claimant

May 7, 2009

On December 22, 2008, Wiley Rein successfully secured a federal district court remand of a Social Security Administration (SSA) decision refusing to grant benefits to a client and recently also obtained fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).

The client first applied for disability benefits in 2004.  Wiley Rein began representing her in 2006, after the SSA had denied her initial application and an application for reconsideration and after her case was referred to the firm through the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program.  Wiley Rein represented the client during proceedings before an administrative law judge (ALJ) and, following the ALJ’s adverse ruling, on appeal before the SSA’s Appeals Council. 

After the Appeals Council failed to reverse the ALJ, Wiley Rein filed an appeal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on the client’s behalf.  The parties agreed to a stipulated remand order following negotiations over the issues to be considered on remand, including the need to give proper evidentiary weight to the opinions provided by the client’s treating physicians.  The government also agreed to the EAJA fees payment after Wiley Rein filed a motion asserting that, inter alia, the SSA’s reasons for disregarding the treating physicians’ opinions were not substantially justified.  

The firm continues to represent the client during agency proceedings on remand. 

Contributing to the effort are Wiley Rein partners William A. McGrath and Sandra Tvarian Stevens; of counsel Keith S. Watson; associates Brendan J. Morrissey and Gregory J. Langlois; and staff members Kathy Young and LaCretia Jolly.