Thomas et al v. Viskase Companies Inc
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 109 Plaintiff's motion for fees and costs. Signed by Chief Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 05/10/2022. (llg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
JAMIE THOMAS and ARGUSTER WILLIAMS,
Both Individually and on Behalf of All Others
Similarly Situated; and SEAN GARNETT
VISKASE COMPANIES, INC.
This case was litigated hard on almost all issues for nearly
two and a half years. There were some complexities presented by the
rounding rules and the two groups of plaintiffs. The parties settled the
liability issues, Doc. 106, and all that remains is a dispute about
attorney's fees and costs. Plaintiffs' counsel spent 367.15 hours on this
case, which has generated a request for $74,988.95 in fees and $3,357.98
in costs. Viskase estimates that a $29,000 award is more reasonable.
The Court must determine the number of hours reasonably expended
multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate, and then make any appropriate
reductions. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433-40 (1983); Quigley v.
Winter, 598 F.3d 938, 956-59 (8th Cir. 2010).
The Court agrees with Viskase that the proposed hourly
rates are too high across the board for this kind of work in this District.
The Court will make the appropriate reductions. The reductions are
based on the Court's experienc·e with current market rates in all kinds
of cases. The Court awards fees for these listed hours and rates:
188.50 hours x
The Court appreciates counsel's self-audit and voluntary
time reductions. The Court is not persuaded by Viskase's argument
that counsel's decision not to provide documentation about the selfdeducted time justifies ignoring that salutary effort. There is still,
however, more to be trimmed.
The 16.75 hours Short billed for the time he spent traveling
throughout Arkansas to attend virtual depositions will not be shifted
onto Viskase. Most paying clients are willing to go to their lawyer to
avoid paying additional fees for time spent traveling. The Court will
therefore deduct $2,512.50 from the lodestar amount.
A further across the board 25% reduction is reasonable to account
for overstaffing, duplicated effort, and inefficiencies. Five lawyers, a
law clerk, and a paralegal are excessive for this case. Too much time
was spent on intra-office conferences, meetings, calls, and emails.
Clients don't pay extra for staff work or excessive oversight, so fees for
these types of matters will not be awarded.
All material things considered, the Court awards $37,035.00 as the
reasonable attorney's fee for the work in this case. Hensley, 461 U.S. at
The Court also awards a reduced amount in costs. FED. R.
CIV. P. 54(d)(l); 28 U.S.C. § 1920. The filing fee and copy costs are
recoverable, 28 U.S.C. § 1920(1) & (4). So is the $145 cost to find correct
addresses. The postage and the private service fee, however, aren't
recoverable as costs. Smith v. Tenet Healthsystem SL, Inc., 436 F.3d 879,
889 (8th Cir. 2006); Crues v. KFC Corp., 768 F.2d 230, 234 (8th Cir. 1985).
Neither is travel for deposing counsel's clients. But, paying clients are
routinely billed for postage and private service. Those expenses $661.55 - will therefore be added to the fee.
Here's the summary:
Attorney Fees ........................ $37,696.55
Costs ..................................... $1,231.90
Total. ................................... $38,928.45
A final point: the Court notes that it reserved jurisdiction to
enforce the parties' settlement and resolve any attorney's fee issues
expired on 4 April 2022.
The latter reservation was
unnecessary and mistaken. The Court always has jurisdiction over fee
issues post-judgment because they're a collateral matter. Iowa v. Union
Asphalt & Roadoils, Inc., 409 F.2d 1239, 1243 (8th Cir. 1969).
* * *
Plaintiff's motion for fees and costs, Doc. 109, is mostly granted
and partly denied.
D .P. Marshall Jr.
United States District Judge
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