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Published opinion

We are presented with the question of whether district courts may employ the lodestar method to determine whether an attorney fee constitutes a “windfall” under Gisbrecht v. Barnhart, 535 U.S. 789 (2002). Because we read Gisbrecht as merely forbidding exclusive reliance on the lodestar method to determine the reasonableness of a 42 U.S.C. § 406(b) attorney fee, we do not conclude that Gisbrecht precludes a court’s consideration of the lodestar method altogether. And since the district court here did not rely exclusively on the lodestar method to evaluate the reasonableness of a contingency fee, we conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding the contingency fee unreasonable under § 406(b). Accordingly, we AFFIRM the decision of the district court, and we write further only to clarify an area of the law that, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Gisbrecht, has resulted in confusion and conflicting outcomes in the decisions of our lower courts.

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