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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fees. How can I not report on a case about attorneys' fees. Binder & Binder were paid attorneys' fees when it prevailed on behalf of an individual who had been owed benefits by the Social Security Administration. The client objected to the payments by the Social Security Administration (and why would she do that, I wonder) because she claimed her debt to the firm had been discharged in bankruptcy. The SSA demanded that the fees be returned. Binder & Binder commenced a declaratory judgment action, seeking a judgment stating that they were entitled to the fees.

The SSA moved for summary judgment and prevailed. Binder & Binder appealed. The Second Circuit remanded the case to the District Court for a determination of whether the Court had subject matter jurisdiction. The District Court found that it lacked jurisdiction because Binder & Binder's claim did not arise from the Social Security Act. The Second Circuit held that there was jurisdiction, that the SSA lacked the authority to demand back the payment made to Binder & Binder and vacated the judgment of the District Court and remanded.

The decision in Binder & Binder v. Barnhart can be found here.

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