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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In this consolidated appeal, the plaintiffs-appellants appeal the district court’s orders denying their applications for attorney’s fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) and under 42 U.S.C. �406(b). HOLDING:The court reverses and remands the district court’s decisions to dismiss the plaintiffs’ applications under �406(b) as being untimely. An application for attorney’s fees under the EAJA must be submitted within 30 days of final judgment in the action. The EAJA defines “final judgment” as “a judgment that is final and not appealable.” The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted “final judgment” for purposes of �2412(d)(1)(B) as “a judgment rendered by a court that terminates the civil action for which EAJA fees may be received.” Melkonyan v. Sullivan, 501 U.S. 89 (1991). The 30-day EAJA clock “begins to run after the time to appeal that”final judgment’ has expired.” “Because this thirty-day deadline represents a waiver of sovereign immunity, it is jurisdictional.” Briseno v. Ashcroft, 291 F.3d 377, 379 (5th Cir. 2002). The court holds that where, as here, the government dismisses its own appeal, the date of dismissal commences the 30-day period. In the present case, the plaintiffs filed their applications more than three months after this court dismissed the government’s consolidated appeal. These applications, the court decides, were clearly untimely under the EAJA, depriving the district court of jurisdiction to consider the merits of the applications. In an effort to avoid being found untimely under the EAJA, the plaintiffs contend that the magistrate judge’s orders reaffirming his prior decisions were final judgments under the EAJA, entitling them to new 30-day periods to file their requests for attorney’s fees. The magistrate judge, however, did not issue orders of remand as requested by the plaintiffs. Rather, the magistrate judge found these separate requests unnecessary, concluding that his previous sentence-four judgments in these cases remained in effect. Accordingly, the magistrate judge merely reaffirmed his prior decision in each case. To adopt the plaintiffs’ view would allow claimants, who are trying to meet the statutory requirements but have otherwise failed to fall within the EAJA’s 30-day period, to seek orders reaffirming prior decisions in order to start new EAJA filing periods. “Because the plaintiffs’ interpretation of”final judgment’ is not supported by the decisions interpreting �2412(d)(1)(B) and because it creates an incentive for claimants to create new”final judgments’ for purposes of the EAJA clock, we decline to adopt this view. Instead, we hold that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to consider the plaintiffs’ applications for attorney’s fees under the EAJA.” When the plaintiffs in the present case filed their initial applications for attorney’s fees under �406(b), the district court denied those applications as premature because the plaintiffs had not been found disabled or awarded past-due benefits by an ALJ pursuant to the court’s sentence-four remand orders. the district court gave the plaintiffs the opportunity to refile their �406(b) applications at a later date, even if their refilings fell outside of the 14-day time period prescribed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) and the local rules. In essence, the district court provided no time limitations for the plaintiffs’ second applications for �406(b) attorney’s fees, which was well within the court’s discretion under Rule 54(d). When the plaintiffs refiled their applications for attorney’s fees under both �406(b) and the EAJA Aug. 16, 2004, the district court denied the EAJA applications, but did not rule on, or even mention, the plaintiffs’ applications for �406(b) attorney’s fees. It was only after Felps filed motions for rehearing that the magistrate judge ruled that the plaintiffs’ � 406(b) applications were untimely. Because the district court did not originally impose a cutoff date on the plaintiffs to refile their applications, the court concludes that the district court abused its discretion when it labeled the plaintiffs’ second �406(b) applications as untimely. Because the plaintiffs’ attorney complied with the local rules and the district court never directed her to enclose the contracts, the district court abused its discretion in denying attorney’s fees on the basis that the attorney never enclosed the agreements. OPINION:King, J.; Jones, CJ, King and Dennis, JJ.

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