El-Tabech v. Houston, et al

Filing 243

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - Plaintiff's supplemental motion for attorney's fees 233 is granted. Plaintiff is awarded an additional $73,360.20 in attorney's fees and $271.20 in recoverable costs. A separate judgment will be entered in accordance with this Memorandum and Order. Ordered by Chief Judge Joseph F. Bataillon. (KBJ)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA M O H A M E D A. EL-TABECH, P la in tif f , v. H A R O L D W . CLARKE, et al., D e f e n d a n ts . ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 4 :0 4 C V 3 2 3 1 OR DER T h is matter is before the court on the plaintiff's supplemental motion for attorney's fe e s in connection with his motion for contempt, Filing No. 233. This court found that plaintiff w a s entitled to fees in an earlier order. See Filing No. 228. El-Tabech seeks $73,360.20 in a tto rn e y's fees and $271.20 in recoverable costs for a total fee and cost award of $ 7 3 ,6 3 1 .4 0 . The defendants argue that the fee application seeks fees that are, in part, not re c o v e ra b le because the plaintiff prevailed only on one of two issues presented in his motion fo r contempt and that the fees sought are excessive. A successful civil rights plaintiff is "normally entitled to fees" under 42 U.S.C. 1988. C o d y v. Hillard, 304 F.3d 767, 772 (8th Cir. 2002). A prisoner who prevails in a civil rights c la im under 42 U.S.C. 1983, is entitled to recover his fees subject to the provisions of the P ris o n Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"). See 42 U.S.C. 1997e(d). Fees are allowed for w o rk undertaken by plaintiff's attorneys to monitor compliance with the court's orders and to e n fo rc e those orders and judgments that are a "necessary adjunc[t] to the initial litigation," a n d were directly and reasonably incurred in enforcing the relief ordered for the violation. J e n k in s by Jenkins v. Missouri, 127 F.3d 709, 716 (8th Cir. 1997). In support of the motion for attorney's fees, plaintiff has submitted itemized and d e ta ile d contemporaneous time records and cost entries as well as affidavits from Lincoln, N e b r a s k a , attorneys attesting to the reasonableness of the fees and costs sought by plaintiff. S e e Filing No. 234, Index of Evid., Ex. 1, Affidavit of Gene Summerlin ("Summerlin Aff."), Ex. A , billing statement; Ex. 2, Affidavit of Jefferson Downing; Ex. 3, Affidavit of Pete W e g m a n . T h e court has reviewed the plaintiff's application, affidavits and time sheets. The plaintiff has s h o w n that he seeks a fee award only for work performed in connection with the issue on w h ic h he was successful--the kosher diet issue. See id., Summerlin Aff. at 5. The plaintiff d o e s not seek reimbursement of $15,360.60 in fees for post-judgment monitoring of plaintiff's p r a ye r claims. Id. The court finds that the time expended on post-judgment monitoring, e n fo rc e m e n t of the previous fee judgment, the motion for contempt, and the present fee a p p lic a tio n are reasonable in light of the defendants' conduct in this matter. Accordingly, the c o u rt finds El-Tabech is entitled to recover an additional $73,360.20 in attorney's fees and $ 2 7 1 .2 0 in recoverable costs. The fees and costs are the product of a reasonable number o f hours multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate and are fair, reasonable and customary within th e Lincoln, Nebraska, legal market for the type of work provided to El-Tabech. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED: 1 . Plaintiff's supplemental motion for attorney's fees (Filing No. 233) is granted. 2. Plaintiff is awarded an additional $73,360.20 in attorney's fees and $271.20 in re c o v e ra b le costs. 3. A separate judgment will be entered in accordance with this Memorandum and O rd e r. DATED this 10 th day of June, 2009. B Y THE COURT: s / Joseph F. Bataillon Chief District Judge 2

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