Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, Inc. et al v. Joyce et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Expenses [ECF No. 90 ] is GRANTED in the amount of $67,536.00 for attorneys fees and $274.20 for expenses. Signed by District Judge E. Richard Webber on 7/1/15. (EAB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
SURVIVORS NETWORK OF THOSE
ABUSED BY PRIESTS, INC., et al.
JENNIFER JOYCE, et al.,
Case No. 4:12CV01501 ERW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter comes before the court on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Attorneys’ Fees and
Expenses [ECF No. 90].
Plaintiffs Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, Inc., Voice of the Faithful,
Region 8, David Biersmith, and Holly Hesemann (“Plaintiffs”) filed this lawsuit seeking a
declaratory judgment and preliminary and permanent injunctions enjoining enforcement of
Missouri Revised Statute § 574.035 alleging the statute is unconstitutional because it violates the
First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. Plaintiffs named as Defendants Jennifer
Joyce, in her capacity as Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis, Daniel Isom, in his capacity
as Chief of Police for the Metropolitan Police Department for the City of St. Louis, Chris Koster,
in his capacity as Attorney General of Missouri, and Ronald Replogle, in his capacity as
Superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol (“Defendants”).
This Court granted Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed the case
with prejudice [ECF No. 64, 65]. Plaintiffs appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and
the Eighth Circuit reversed this Court’s judgment and remanded for further proceedings.
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, Inc. v. Joyce, 779 F.3d 785 (8th Cir. 2015). On
remand, the parties agreed to a consent judgment permanently enjoining Defendants from
enforcing Missouri Revised Statute § 574.035.3(1) to the extent it prohibits a person from
intentionally and unreasonably disturbing, interrupting, or disquieting a house of worship by
using profane discourse, rude or indecent behavior and dismissing Plaintiffs’ remaining claims.
Plaintiffs now seek to recover their costs, attorneys’ fees, and expenses. Defendants do not
object to the time entries submitted for attorneys’ fees but they do object to the hourly rate
Plaintiffs are requesting.
Plaintiffs seek $67,536.00 in attorneys’ fees and $274.20 in expenses from Defendants.
Plaintiffs calculated this amount using the Lodestar calculation. Plaintiffs charged $365.00 per
hour for Anthony E. Rothert and $275.00 per hour for Grant R. Doty. Plaintiffs are seeking
reimbursement for 210.6 hours. As noted, Defendants do not contest the number of hours
Plaintiffs are seeking, but Defendants object to the hourly rate for both attorneys and argue more
reasonable rates are $325.00 per hour for Mr. Rothert and $250.00 per hour for Mr. Doty.
Plaintiffs are entitled to attorneys’ fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 which allows for the
collection of reasonable attorney’s fees in actions to enforce 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To determine a
reasonable attorney’s fee, a court multiplies the number of hours reasonably expended on the
litigation by a reasonable hourly rate. Pennsylvania v. Delaware Valley Citizens’ Council for
Clean Air, 478 U.S. 546, 564 (1986). The product of this calculation is “presumed to be the
reasonable fee to which counsel is entitled” when the attorney has shown the claimed rate and
number of hours are reasonable. Id. The “novelty and complexity of the issues, the special skill
and experience of counsel, the quality of representation, and the results obtained from the
litigation” are reflected in this amount. Id. (internal quotations omitted).
The Court finds Plaintiffs have shown their requested rates for attorneys’ fees are
reasonable in light of the expertise of counsel, quality of representation, and complexity of the
litigation. Defendants do not object to Plaintiffs’ requested hours and the Court did not find any
unreasonable time entries in its own review.
The Court will grant Plaintiffs’ Motion for
Attorneys’ Fees and award Plaintiffs $67,536.00 in attorneys’ fees.
Plaintiffs also seek $274.20 in expenses for the cost of a special process server. A court
may award reasonable expenses, ordinarily included in a bill to the client, as part of the award of
attorneys’ fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988. Neufeld v. Searle Laboratories, 884 F.2d 335, 342 (8th
Cir. 1989) (citations omitted). The Court will award Plaintiffs $274.20 in expenses as requested.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ Motion for Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses
[ECF No. 90] is GRANTED in the amount of $67,536.00 for attorneys’ fees and $274.20 for
So Ordered this 1st Day of July, 2015.
E. RICHARD WEBBER
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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