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Astrue v. Ratliff

Close Date: 06/14/2010
Topic(s): Attorney Fees
Status: open
Date Of Involvement: 04/28/2009
Docket: 08-1322

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This case concerned whether the government could seize attorneys’ fees awarded under the Equal Access to Justice Act in a Social Security case to satisfy unrelated debts the impoverished Social Security claimant owed the government. Public Citizen assisted in representing the attorney whose fee was taken in the Supreme Court. On June 14, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled against the attorney, holding that under the statute, the fee was awarded to the client and was available to satisfy her creditors, including the United States, before it could be used for its intended purpose of compensating the attorney.