The Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), enacted in 1980, authorizes the award of attorney’s fees and other expenses to certain individuals, small businesses, and other entities who prevail against the federal government in judicial proceedings and certain adversary adjudications when the government’s position is not substantially justified. The stated purpose of EAJA, among other things, is to “diminish the deterrent effect of seeking review of, or defending against, governmental action by providing” for the award of certain costs and fees against the United States.
In March 2019, Congress passed and the President signed the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which requires the Office of the Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) to prepare an annual report on EAJA awards against the government during fiscal year 2019 by March 31, 2020, and to prepare a similar report for every fiscal year thereafter. The Dingell Act also requires the Office of the Chairman to establish and maintain a publicly available, online, and searchable database containing detailed information about each award by March 31, 2020. The database must include EAJA awards in both adversary adjudications and the much larger number of awards in federal-court cases. This accompanying Report covers the first reporting period, Fiscal Year 2019: October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019.