John Garaffa won an appeal on behalf of a veteran in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims. The USCAVC hears appeals of denials of veterans’ benefits. The case was referred to Butler by the Veterans’ Consortium Pro Bono Program. The Consortium, comprised of most of the veterans’ service organizations, acts as a clearinghouse reviewing veterans’ claims for possible merit before USCAVC and matches them with attorneys willing to work on a pro bono basis. Should the veteran prevail, his or her pro bono attorney is entitled to attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. Sect. 504. As a condition of its representation, the Consortium requires a veteran to assign to his or her attorney the possible claim for fees.
Having prevailed, the firm was entitled to attorney fees under EAJA and we were awarded $18,000. Having taken the assignment on a pro bono basis, without expectation of a fee, as Butler has in the past when successful, our firm donated the EAJA fee to the Veterans’ Consortium Pro Bono Program.