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PARKER v. CALIFANO

January 13, 1978

DOROTHY PARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH A. CALIFANO, Jr., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY

 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE, CHARLES R. RICHEY

 Subsequently, plaintiff filed the Supplemental Motion for Award of Attorneys' Fees now before the Court. In this motion, plaintiff seeks: (1) enforcement of this Court's initial award of $8,727.50 attorneys' fees plus $42.86 expenses; (2) interest on the initial award at 6 per cent per annum, which would equal $526.22; (3) attorneys' fees for the hours expended (8-1/4 hours) after plaintiff filed her initial motion for attorneys' fees, but before the Court issued its Order and Memorandum Opinion on April 1, 1976; and (4) attorneys' fees and expenses for counsel's work on appeal and in preparing the instant motion.

 Defendant does not contest plaintiff's entitlement to enforcement of this Court's initial award. Nor does he contest plaintiff's entitlement to reasonable compensation for the work performed by counsel in the appeal of this case and in the preparation of the instant motion. Defendant does object, however, to a number of aspects of plaintiff's supplemental motion for attorneys' fees. Accordingly, the Court will consider these objections seriatim.

 I. COMPENSABLE HOURS

 Defendant's first objection is to the number of hours claimed by plaintiff's counsel both on the appeal and on the preparation of the instant motion for fees. Of course, the Court is not bound by the number of hours claimed by counsel. See Berger, Court Awarded Attorneys' Fees: What is "Reasonable"?, 126 U. Pa. L. Rev. 281, 319 (1977). Rather, the Court itself must "weigh the hours claimed against [its] own knowledge, experience, and expertise of the time required to complete similar activities." Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717 (5th Cir. 1974).

 Counsel's affidavits indicate that attorneys Linda R. Singer, James Altman, and Lydia N. Wegman respectively spent 117-3/4, 35-3/4, and 64-1/4 hours on the appeal of this case. Their affidavits further indicate that attorneys Singer and Wegman respectively spent 13 and 71-1/2 hours preparing the instant motion for attorneys' fees. Upon consideration of counsel's affidavits, and based on its review of plaintiff-appellee's appellate brief and the instant attorneys' fees motion, the Court concludes that plaintiff is not entitled to compensation for the full number of hours claimed by counsel.

 (a) The Appeal. The Court finds plaintiff-appellee's appellate brief to be the product of superlative legal research and writing. In view of the indisputable significance of the legal issues decided by this Court and reviewed by the Court of Appeals, *fn1" the Court concludes that plaintiff is entitled to compensation for all but a few of the hours claimed by counsel for work on the appeal.

 Consistent with the Court's initial fees award, see 411 F. Supp. at 1067, the Court will not require defendant to compensate plaintiff for the hours that both the senior and junior attorneys spent in conference together. Rather, only the senior attorney's conference hours will be considered compensable. Similarly, the Court will not require defendant to compensate plaintiff for the 6-1/2 hours expended by the junior attorney (Ms. Wegman) on non-research "preparation for oral argument" and the three hours claimed by Ms. Wegman for accompanying Attorney Singer to the oral argument before the Court of Appeals. Since Attorney Wegman did not argue this case to the Court of Appeals, these 9-1/2 hours related to oral argument were not necessary and involved a duplication of activity. See United Federation of Postal Clerks v. United States, 61 F.R.D. 13, 19 n.16 (D.D.C. 1973). Accordingly, the Court will deduct one hour from Attorney Altman's claimed time, and 12-1/4 hours from Attorney Wegman's claimed time for work on the appeal of this case. The remaining hours claimed by counsel were, in the Court's view, fair and reasonable as well as necessary "to a vigorous prosecution of the claims," see Berger, supra, at 319, and the Court will require defendant to compensate plaintiff for these hours, which total 117-3/4 for Attorney Singer, 34-3/4 for Attorney Altman, and 52 for Attorney Wegman.

 (b) The Supplemental Motion for Attorneys' Fees. While the Court finds plaintiff's pending motion for attorneys' fees also to be of the highest quality, the Court concludes that the hours claimed for work on this motion, unlike the hours claimed for work on the appeal, are not fully warranted. As noted above, attorneys Singer and Wegman respectively expended 13 and 71-1/2 hours preparing the instant motion for fees. A number of factors lead this Court to conclude that the claimed number of hours should be discounted.

 First, this is the second motion for attorneys' fees in this case, and, as evidenced by a comparison of plaintiff's first motion (filed November 25, 1975) with the instant motion, much of the basic research with respect to the standards for attorneys' fees awards was completed for the original motion and compensated for in this Court's initial fees award of $8,727.50. Second, though Attorney Wegman spent 18-1/2 hours researching additional points and authorities for the instant motion, this substantial commitment of time resulted in the inclusion of only 12 cases in this motion that were not in the initial motion, and a number of these cases are quite well-known. Third, Attorney Wegman spent 53 hours and Attorney Singer 13 hours in writing the 16-page supplemental fees motion. Nothing in this motion, however, is so novel or complex as to warrant this number of hours of work. Indeed, the supplemental fees motion now before the Court is, by any standard, quite routine. Finally, Attorney Singer's experience and expertise in the Title VII area and her work on attorneys' fees issues in other cases should have resulted in a minimization of the number of hours necessary to prepare the supplemental fees motion. In view of all of the above factors, the Court concludes that the number of hours claimed by plaintiff's counsel for work on the supplemental attorneys' fees motion now before the Court is appropriately discounted by 50 per cent. The Court will therefore require defendant to compensate plaintiff for 6-1/2 hours of Attorney Singer's time and 26-1/2 hours of Attorney Wegman's time for their work on the supplemental fees motion, which the Court finds to be fair and reasonable in the circumstances of this case.

 II. PRE-APRIL 1976 HOURS

 Defendant's second objection to plaintiff's supplemental motion for attorneys' fees is that plaintiff is not entitled to recover on this motion fees for hours expended prior to this Court's Memorandum Opinion of April 1, 1976, because only fees incurred on or after appeal are properly compensated for at this time. Counsel's affidavits indicate that attorneys Singer and Altman respectively worked 7-3/4 hours and 1/2 hour on this case before this Court between the time plaintiff's initial attorneys' fees motion was filed and the time this Court issued its Order and Memorandum Opinion on April 1, 1976. Plaintiff has never been compensated for these hours, and the Court finds that counsel's decision not to file any supplemental fees motions until the case was completed in its entirety was perfectly reasonable. There being no just reason for denying plaintiff compensation for these hours, the Court will require defendant to compensate plaintiff for the 7-3/4 and 1/2 hours worked ...


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