Petitioner challenged the Social Security Administration's denial of her disability claim and prevailed. She then moved for attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). Although EAJA caps the attorney fees to $175 an hour, petitioner claimed her attorney qualified for a $50 an hour fee enhancement based on specialized skill.
The court found that Vietnamese language skill was a specialized skill, but the enhancement based on the language skill would be applied to the two hours the attorney spent to interview the client. But because the attorney had specialized skill in handling refugee issues, the court applied the enhancement to all hours billed.
Always surprises me to see how the court underrates the importance of a foreign language skill.