The Reasonableness of Block Billing

 Posted by at 10:28 am  Court Decisions, Interesting Fee Cases, Overbilling, Uncategorized, Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on The Reasonableness of Block Billing
Apr 042016
 

Block billing is a prevalent problem throughout the legal profession. Although a recent decision by the 9th Circuit found an attorney’s block billed entries to be adequate, the court still based its decision on the reasonableness of time billed for the given task.

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Fees Reduced for Non-payable Tasks

 Posted by at 12:08 pm  Court Decisions, Interesting Fee Cases, Overbilling, Uncategorized, Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Fees Reduced for Non-payable Tasks
Apr 012016
 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed several objections to Plaintiff’s motion for attorney’s fees including complaints of block billing and vague entries in Pigford v. Vilsack, 2015 WL 7432322 (D.D.C. Nov. 23, 2015). Ms. Sanders acted as one of plaintiff’s class counsel and was tasked with assisting in the wind-down stipulation and order from September to December, 2014.

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It’s All in the Details!

 Posted by at 12:15 pm  Court Decisions, Interesting Fee Cases, Overbilling, Uncategorized, Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on It’s All in the Details!
Mar 252016
 

In Restivo v. Nassau County, there are four principal issues that the defendants brought forth to dispute the payment of attorneys’ fees (2015 WL 7734100 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 30, 2015)). First, they argued that the plaintiff’s attorneys’ staffing was unreasonable. The Court stated that the defendants did not produce any persuasive evidence showing any particular phase of the case was overstaffed; thus indicating if the defendants had provided some evidence of overstaffing, the court might have found in their favor.

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Attorney cannot refuse to provide a detailed description in motion for attorney’s fees on the ground that the information is protected by attorney-client privilege

 Posted by at 9:33 am  Court Decisions, Interesting Fee Cases, Overbilling, Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Attorney cannot refuse to provide a detailed description in motion for attorney’s fees on the ground that the information is protected by attorney-client privilege
Mar 072016
 

In a recent case before the Unites States District Court, Northern District of California, the court denied an attorney’s fees motion for failing to include a detailed description of the work performed, even though it acknowledged that the attorney has “legitimate concerns” over disclosing privileged information.  See Venture Corporation v. Barrett, 2015 WL 8588239 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10, 2015).

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Attorneys’ Fees Drastically Cut for Multiple Improper Billing Charges

 Posted by at 9:33 am  Court Decisions, Interesting Fee Cases, Overbilling, Uncategorized, Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Attorneys’ Fees Drastically Cut for Multiple Improper Billing Charges
Mar 012016
 

In this case, the petitioner’s attorneys’ fees were reduced by $146,790.69 due to multiple improper charges. First, the Court reduced the petitioners’ counsel’s billable hours for administrative work. For example, the attorney spent 18.38 hours reviewing invoices, setting up meetings, and making travel arrangements and spent an additional 71 hours filing documents. Continue reading »

Outrageous Attorney’s Fees of $153,525 Requested For Moderate Success in a Typical Landlord-Tenant Dispute Reduced to $10,000

 Posted by at 9:22 am  Court Decisions, Interesting Fee Cases, Overbilling, Uncategorized, Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Outrageous Attorney’s Fees of $153,525 Requested For Moderate Success in a Typical Landlord-Tenant Dispute Reduced to $10,000
Feb 222016
 

When a tenant sues his landlord and apartment managers for violating the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), moderate success at trial of a typical landlord-tenant dispute does not entitle a tenant’s attorney to $153,525 in fees.  Youssef v. Wheatley, No. B257828, 2015 WL 8037231 (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 7, 2015).  In Yousef, a tenant alleged several causes of action against his landlord and apartment managers after a series of unfortunate events that resulted in a physical altercation between the apartment manager and tenant.  After an unsuccessful attempt by the landlord to evict the tenant based on the apartment manager’s claim that the tenant instigated the altercation, the tenant brought suit alleging violations of FEHA, conspiracy to violate his civil rights and malicious prosecution.  The tenant sought compensatory damages for his emotional distress and punitive damages based on the landlord’s and managers’ malice or oppression.  The California trial court directed verdicts for the defendants as to plaintiff’s claims of conspiracy, malicious prosecution, and punitive damages.  The jury found the defendants liable for the FEHA violations and awarded plaintiff $5,000.  Plaintiff’s attorney requested an award of $153,525 in attorney’s fees for 319.5 hours of legal work performed in this case.  The trial court awarded plaintiff’s attorney a mere $10,000 after determining that the request was excessive and unjustified based on the attorney’s limited success in this routine matter.

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Court Gives “Haircut” to Attorney’s Fees in Case against Motion Picture Health Plan: A Moderate Approach that is more like Hairspray than Sweeney Todd

 Posted by at 9:23 am  Court Decisions, Interesting Fee Cases, Overbilling, Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Court Gives “Haircut” to Attorney’s Fees in Case against Motion Picture Health Plan: A Moderate Approach that is more like Hairspray than Sweeney Todd
Feb 162016
 

After a successful outcome from a lawsuit claiming ERISA violations, plaintiff’s attorney sought compensation for his time and efforts devoted to the case for his client.  Dragu v. Motion Picture Indus. Health Plan for Active Participants, 2016 WL 454066 (N.D. Cal. February 5, 2016). Applying the traditional lodestar method, Attorney James Keenley requested $120,270 in fees.  The district court addressed each of the defendant’s seven objections in turn and, borrowing language from Moreno v. City of Sacramento, exercised its discretion to give “a haircut” to some of the fees (534 F. 3d 1106, 1111 (9th Cir. 2008)).

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Weekly Wrap Up 3/2/12

 Posted by at 12:35 pm  Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Weekly Wrap Up 3/2/12
Mar 022012
 

A collection of legal fee articles from the past week…

Heller Attorneys’ Fees Ready for Appeal (LegalTimes) – Lead attorney for victorious plaintiff Heller is back in the courtroom, appealing a $1.17 million attorneys’ fee award from the District Court. Alan Gura, of Alexandria’s Gura & Possessky, and Clark Neilly III, from the Institute for Justice today, filed a notice of appeal announcing his intent to ask the Federal Circuit to review the D.D.C opinion.  All this is taking place on the backdrop of settlement negotiations between the District of Columbia and Gura. Neilly confirmed that settlement negotiations are continuing, but that the notice of appeal was filed to ensure their options in court remain open. Heller’s legal team is disputing the reduction from their 3.12 million dollar request, stating the original amount was reasonable based upon the length and complexity of the request. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up 2/3/2012

 Posted by at 2:29 pm  Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Weekly Wrap Up 2/3/2012
Feb 032012
 

A collection of legal fees news from the past week…

Super Bowl Week Reveals Super Legal Fees (AM Law Daily) –  With fans gearing up for Sunday’s big game, it seems apropos that the NFL Players’ Association released their annual LM-2 filing, detailing expenses between March 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011. The report revealed a massive build up in spending leading to the lockout which commenced on March 12, 2011, and subsequent decertification by the NFLPA. According to the report, approximately 63.2 million dollars was spent on representational activity in the period reported on. Amongst law firms leading the way were Latham & Watkins ($ 3.1 million), Dewey & LeBoeuf ($2.9 million), and Patton Boggs ($ 948, 983). Interestingly, the head of the NFLPA, DeMaurice Smith, is a former Latham and Patton Boggs partner. Those two firms have moved in on the legal sphere traditionally occupied by Dewey and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up 1/27/12

 Posted by at 3:16 pm  Weekly Wrap-Up  Comments Off on Weekly Wrap Up 1/27/12
Jan 272012
 

A collection of legal fees news from the previous week…

$89,000 Legal Fee Approved Despite $500 Award (NY Law Journal) – Despite receiving only a $500 award in her suit alleging excessive force in an arrest, a NY Judge awarded an $89,000 legal fee to her attorney.  Judge Jack B. Weinstein ruled in the case of Brown v. Starrett City Associates in the Eastern District of New York and confirmed a magistrate judge’s recommendations on fees. Under the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Award Act, the judge ruled plaintiff was entitled to an award of fees.  The defendant’s protested the award, claiming it was merely de minimis or nominal. The judge rejected that argument on two counts, first citing a public policy issue that the very act of liability was all that is necessary; and secondly on grounds that the award was not de minimis. Jury instructions specified a de minimis award of $1. The Magistrate Judge further noted this was a unique constitutional issue, and it was on the record plaintiff’s attorney had performed “exceptionally” well.

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