MARTINSBURG - A law firm in Romney has filed a Writ of Mandamus against a Social Security commissioner for allegedly failing to approve itemized bills and fee petitions.

Lawrence E. Sherman Jr. LC is engaged in the practice of law in Romney and is licensed and authorized to conduct business in West Virginia, according to a complaint filed May 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Martinsburg.

Sherman claims he entered into a consent pay fee agreement with Thomas M. Dawson, a resident of Augusta; Leann Spurling, a resident of Keyser; and Wanda Hawthorne, a resident of Augusta, and it was agreed that the clients would pay 25 percent of any back pay obtained in their cases, or $6,000, whichever is lesser of the two.

As a result of Sherman's representation, a fully favorable decision was issued in each of the three cases in 2011 and 2012, according to the suit, and despite the fully favorable decisions and being entered into consent to pay agreements, Commissioner of Social Security Michael J. Astrue has failed to approve Sherman's itemized bills and fee petitions or remit and forward the attorney fees, according to the suit.

Sherman claims 42 USC Section 406 (a) allows for a mandamus as a tool for requiring the commissioner to carry out his statutory duties.

The commissioner has a mandatory duty to pay unto Sherman his attorney fees and his failure to do so has deprived Sherman any other adequate remedy in law or equity, according to the suit.

Sherman is seeking that his petition for a Writ of Mandamus be granted; that a rule to show cause be issued to the Commissioner directing him to show cause, if he can, why he should not be required to authorize payment of attorney fees to Sherman; reasonable attorney fees and all fees incidental and proper for the costs of this action; and such other relief as the Court may find proper. Sherman is representing himself.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Martinsburg case number: 3:13-cv-00059

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