CHANDLER v. MEETINGS & EVENTS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
ORDER on Plaintiff's 97 Motion for Attorney Fees - The Court hereby GRANTS IN PART the Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney Fees and ORDERS an award of Twenty-Five Thousand Nine Hundred Fifty-Six Dollars and Twenty-Five Cents ($25,956.25) by Defendant. Signed by Magistrate Judge William G. Hussmann, Jr., on 1/7/2016. (NRN)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
MEETINGS & EVENTS
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES
This matter is before me, William G. Hussmann, Jr., United States
Magistrate Judge, by Consent of the parties, Filing No. 59, Filing No. 60, and
on the Order of Reference issued by District Judge William T. Lawrence on
August 28, 2015, Filing No. 61.
The issue of liability and legal damages for a claim of retaliation under
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 623(d), was
tried by a jury on October 13 and October 14, 2015. The jury found the
Defendant liable and awarded Plaintiff Sixty-Eight Thousand Dollars ($68,000)
in compensatory damages. Filing No. 84. After a hearing on the issue of back
pay, the Court awarded Fifty-Six Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty-Four Dollars
($56,854). After both parties briefed the issue, Filing No. 91, Filing No. 92,
Filing No. 93, the Court also awarded liquidated damages of Fifty-Six Thousand
Eight Hundred Fifty-Four Dollars ($56,854). The Plaintiff now motions for an
award of attorney fees pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2) and LR 54-1 in the
total amount of Thirty-Eight Thousand Seven Hundred Forty Dollars ($38,740).
The matter is fully briefed. Filing No. 97. Filing No. 98.
Defendant requests that the Court exclude from this total amount
proposed by Plaintiff “all fees associated with Plaintiff’s unsuccessful claims for
race and age discrimination that predated the preparation and filing of
Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Amend her Complaint and a percentage reduction
of all fees accrued thereafter related to the unsuccessful claims.” Filing No. 98
at EFC p. 5.
The Court agrees with Defendant on this limiting point. Attorney fees
should not be awarded for work done on the unsuccessful age and race
discrimination claims. This reduction can be accomplished by the simple
limitation of including work done immediately preliminary to the filing of the
Amended Complaint alleging retaliation and all that came after it, with some
exceptions. The work done by Plaintiff’s counsel responding to the Summary
Judgment Motion must be excluded from the attorney-fee award because that
work was in regard to claims that were unsuccessful.
Plaintiff’s attorneys have done a clear and thorough job documenting
their work descriptions and time spent regarding each task. This makes the
Court’s job much simpler. All of the work performed by Andrew Dutkanych was
in service of the Amended Complaint for retaliation. Therefore, his entire fee
request of Ten Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-Seven Dollars and Fifty Cents
($10,687.50) is awarded.
With regard to Benjamin Aylsworth, his work done in relation to the
retaliation claim begins on May 19, 2014 (Depo. Prep., deposition of T. Hall)
onward with the exception of his work pertaining to the unsuccessful Motion
for Summary Judgment. The work done before May 19, 2014 includes a total of
Thirty-Eight and Four Fifths (38.8) Hours, which the Court excluded from the
Attorney Fee award. The work done regarding the unsuccessful Motion for
Summary Judgment consists of Thirty-Four and One Quarter (34.25) total
Hours from November 4, 2014 (Reviewing SJ filing, email corr. w/opposing
counsel) to December 15, 2014 (SJ Response/review/scan exhibits/review
Depos./E-file response) and from January 29, 2015 (Begin SJ Reply) to
February 3, 2015 (Draft Reply/ E-file w/Court).
In total then, the Court excludes Seventy-Three and One Twentieth
(73.05) Hours of Benjamin Aylsworth’s Hours, leaving a total of Eighty-Seven
and One Quarter (87.25) Hours of his work that is included in the Attorney Fee
award. At a rate of One Hundred Seventy-Five Dollars ($175) per Hour, this
leaves a total of Fifteen Thousand Two Hundred Sixty-Eight Dollars and
Seventy-Five Cents ($15,268.75) of Attorney Fees to be awarded for the work
done by Benjamin Aylsworth.
The Court finds a total of Ten Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-Seven
Dollars and Fifty Cents ($10,687.50) for the work done by Andrew Dutkanych
and Fifteen Thousand Two Hundred Sixty-Eight Dollars and Seventy-Five
Cents ($15,268.75) for the work done by Benjamin Aylsworth shall be
awarded. 1 This brings the total attorney fees owed by Defendant to Twenty-Five
Thousand Nine Hundred Fifty-Six Dollars and Twenty-Five Cents ($25,956.25).
The Court hereby GRANTS IN PART the Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorney
Fees and ORDERS an award of Twenty-Five Thousand Nine Hundred Fifty-Six
Dollars and Twenty-Five Cents ($25,956.25) by Defendant.
SO ORDERED the 7th day of January, 2016.
Served electronically on all ECF-registered counsel of record.
Defendant has not argued that the rates charged by counsel are improper, or that hours
should be reduced because there was undue duplication of services.
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