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Attorney's Fees, Criminal and ERISA Cases

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By FindLaw Staff on April 05, 2010 1:54 PM

Jackson v. Comm'r. of Soc. Sec., No. 09-12529, concerned a social security benefits proceeding.  The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's order requiring plaintiff's counsel to refund an Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) fee award to plaintiff, on the ground that an attorney who requested fees under 42 U.S.C. section 406(b) was not required to refund an earlier payment made under the EAJA, and could instead offset the EAJA award by deducting it from his 42 U.S.C. section 406(b) fee request.

In US v. Jones, No. 08-16999, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's drug and firearm possession convictions and sentences in part, on the grounds that 1) when a defendant possesses different weapons at different times or places, the government may treat them as separate units of prosecution; 2) Counts One and Two of the indictment charged separate offenses from Counts Three and Four, and thus the indictment did not violate double jeopardy principles; 3) defendant failed to demonstrate actual prosecutorial vindictiveness; and 4) the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that a witness lacked sufficient memory to testify to the subject matter of a video.  However, the judgment is reversed in part where defendant was brought to trial seventy-five nonexcludable days after the district court received the court of appeals' mandate -- a violation of the Speedy Trial Act -- and vacated in part where the district court took into account untimely charges in calculating defendant's sentence.

Krutzig v. Pulte Home Corp., No. 09-12512, involved an action claiming that plaintiff's termination was an act of retaliation and interference with her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and ERISA.  The Eleventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for defendant, holding that 1) no evidence in the record rebutted the affirmative evidence offered by defendant that plaintiff's supervisors were unaware of her FMLA request at the time the decision was made to terminate plaintiff's employment; and 2) there was no evidence in the record to support a finding that plaintiff's supervisors knew of any application for short-term benefits by plaintiff at the time the decision was made to terminate plaintiff's employment.

In US v. Coast, No. 08-17116, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's firearm possession sentence, holding that 1) revocation of probation was part of a defendant's original sentence because revocation of probation constitutes a modification of the terms of the original sentence and implicates solely the punishment initially imposed for the offense conduct underlying that sentence; and 2) U.S.S.G. section 4A1.2(k) directly instructs a district court, when calculating criminal history points, to add the original term of imprisonment to any term of imprisonment imposed upon revocation, and the district court did just that.

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