Donna Nesselbush is Nationally Recognized with the Eileen Sweeney Distinguished Service Award

Donna Nesselbush accepting an award

Marasco & Nesselbush is pleased to announce that firm co-founder and partner, Donna Nesselbush has been nationally recognized and honored with the Eileen P. Sweeney Distinguished Service Award from the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives (NOSSCR). This award is presented to those whose outstanding service has resulted in a significant improvement in the quality of advocacy for claimants, increased the availability of advocacy for claimants, or improvement in the Social Security adjudicatory process. 

Attorney Nesselbush is being honored for her resilient work on a fees case in the 1st Circuit, Marasco & Nesselbush, LLP v. Collins, 6 F.4th 150 (1st Cir. 2021). In this ruling, by the United States 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, a three-judge panel struck down as “arbitrary and capricious” and therefore unenforceable SSA rules that prohibited law firms from getting paid on cases handled by associate attorneys who later left the employ of the law firm, moving on to work for the government or elsewhere. This 1st Circuit win will guide the federal government in rewriting procedural rules that will help increase the injured and disableds’ access to attorney representation in cases against the SSA.

Donna hailed the case as a win for disabled Rhode Islanders and said, “I always knew that fundamental fairness, justice, and the Constitution were on our side. This case was never just about fees. This case was always about access to justice because access to justice requires access to attorneys.”   

After receiving the award from NOSSCR, Donna said, “I feel so proud and honored and humbled to have received the ‘Eileen Sweeney Distinguished Service Award for Appreciation and Recognition of Distinguished Service on Behalf of People with Disabilities in America.’ For a million reasons, I was so afraid I would lose this case. But here’s the lesson: take risks, and when you can’t reduce your fear, you can always increase your courage!”

The NOSSCR Board agreed that Attorney Nesselbush’s work for NOSSCR members and Social Security claimants fits the award criteria. The NOSSCR Board honored Attorney Nesselbush at their annual conference held on May 12th in Austin TX.

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