Ninth Circuit Rejects Exclusive Use of Lodestar Approach in Calculating Fees in Denial of Disability Insurance Benefits Matters

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In Crawford v. Astrue 2009 DJDAR 15681 (Ninth Circuit 2009), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a fee award made by the district court. The Ninth Circuit concluded that the lower court failed to follow the mandate of Gisbrecht v. Barnhart, 535 U.S. 789 (2002). In Gisbrecht, the United States Supreme Court rejected the exclusive use of the lodestar approach in calculating fee awards in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cases. Instead, the court stated that the lower court must respect “the primacy of lawful attorney-client fee agreements” allowing for the use of contingency fee arrangements in SSDI cases.

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