Pirus v. Bowen

869 F.2d 536 (9th Cir. 1989)


Pirus (P)s filed suit on behalf of herself and a class of similarly situated individuals, challenging D's decision to deny benefits to spouses whose remarriages predated their former spouses' deaths. The court granted summary judgment to the class. The district court also granted P's petition for attorney's fees under the EAJA, awarding fees above the statutory cap of $75 per hour. D appealed the attorney fees. The court reasoned that P's attorneys were expert in the field of social security law. The court also found that there were no lawyers in the community willing to undertake the case at the statutory rate. Finally, the court noted that P's lawyers were uniquely situated to handle her case because of their recent experience litigating a similar case, Bowen v. Owens, all the way to the Supreme Court.