Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

04/30/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/30/2021 13:59

Akin Gump Achieves Precedential Federal Circuit Ruling in Equal Access to Justice Act Case

(Washington, D.C.) - A team from Akin Gump, along with co-counsel from the Veterans Legal Advocacy Group (co-founded by Akin Gump counsel Michael DiLernia), achieved a precedential ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a case pertaining to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).

The court ruled that the government is still obligated to cover attorney's fees stemming from initial case reviews for litigants who prevail in civil actions, even if the litigants did not succeed on all their claims.

The case in question involved Robert L. Smith, an Army veteran who had filed claims for benefits regarding various medical conditions he attributed to his 20-year military service. Akin Gump represented Mr. Smith pro bono at the Federal Circuit.

After partially winning a Board of Veterans' Appeals decision on his benefits, Mr. Smith asked that his attorney's fees for the appeal be covered under the EAJA. He was originally denied fees for much of the time his counsel spent reviewing the record, but the Federal Circuit determined that the Veterans Court 'should not have denied compensation for the reasonable time Mr. Smith's attorney spent initially reviewing the record.'

To read the full opinion of the court, please click here.

Akin Gump Supreme Court and appellate counsel Rachel Bayefsky argued the appeal on behalf of Mr. Smith. She was joined by Supreme Court and appellate practice head Pratik Shah, partner Julius Chen and associate Joshua Tate.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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