because of the freeze. To assess and countermand the effects of the freeze, plaintiffs' counsel discussed the situation with the FTC and contacted individual offerees. Additionally, counsel decided to submit an amicus brief in another case before this Court challenging the freeze. Before the brief was submitted, however, the issue was mooted because President Reagan modified the freeze. The Court finds that the hiring freeze constituted an extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstance within the meaning of the stipulation. Therefore, an award of fees above the $3,000 specifically allotted for the year is warranted by plaintiffs' third fee petition.
Plaintiffs' motion for fees for appeal also meets the extraordinary and unforeseeable test. The stipulation contemplated that the fees it allotted would be adequate absent extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstances. Its $3,000 limit therefore, envisioned neither litigation of attorneys' fee awards nor appeal of such matters. It is difficult to imagine that plaintiffs would have agreed to limit their compensation to $3,000 if they foresaw that they would have to fight for a reasonable fee award both at the district court and at the circuit court level in light of the immense expense that litigation entails.
The decree plainly limited counsel to $3,000 only if there were no extraordinary circumstances. Once those circumstances arose, however, counsel became entitled to the full amount to which they could demonstrate entitlement. It logically follows that they must also be entitled to recompense for the time and effort expended in demonstrating entitlement in this Court and defending it, if necessary, in the Court of Appeals. Further, it was the government's appeal that required plaintiffs' counsel to expend the additional effort for which it seeks compensation here. It is thus with some skepticism that the Court hears the government complaint about awarding these fees.
In plaintiffs' Supplemental Motion for Attorneys' Fees they seek fees for efforts expended on discovery sought by the government. Plaintiffs argue that most of the government's discovery requests were burdensome and unnecessary because the government had all the information it could possibly need from plaintiffs' two prior fee requests and the discovery and proceedings associated with them. In the most part, the Court agrees with plaintiffs' argument. Moreover, as noted above, the Court finds that all litigation-related expenses were not contemplated by the decree and thus should be awarded under the exception for extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstances.
In sum, the Court finds that each of counsel's three pending petitions have demonstrated circumstances which entitle them to an award above the $3,000 allocated in the decree.
THE COURT WILL GRANT ATTORNEYS' FEES AT THE HOURS AND RATES PLAINTIFFS' COUNSEL SEEK ON ALL BUT THE SUPPLEMENTAL MOTION.
Since the Court has determined that plaintiffs' counsel are entitled to fees, the next question is how much counsel are entitled to receive. In order to arrive at a "lodestar" fee, the Court must determine the number of hours that have been reasonably expended and multiply these by what is proven to be a reasonable hourly rate. Copeland v. Marshall, 205 U.S. App. D.C. 390, 641 F.2d 880, 891 (D.C. Cir. 1980). See also Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 103 S. Ct. 1933, 76 L. Ed. 2d 40, 51 U.S.L.W. 4552 (1983).
The reasonable hourly rate is a product of the level of counsels' skill, time limitations, the amount at stake, the attorneys' reputation and the undesirability of the case. Copeland v. Marshall, 205 U.S. App. D.C. 390, 641 F.2d 880, 892 (D.C. Cir. 1980). The hourly rate to which counsel are entitled is generally considered to be the prevailing rate in the community for equivalent services. Id. Moreover, the rate to be awarded should be the prevailing rate at the time of award rather than the rate in effect at the time the work was performed. Id. at 893 n.23.
Along with their fee petition, counsel have provided substantial documentation of prevailing wage rates in the community. Further, they have submitted affidavits detailing their normal hourly rates, which rates are "highly relevant proof of the prevailing community rates." National Association of Concerned Veterans v. Secretary of Defense, 219 U.S. App. D.C. 94, 675 F.2d 1319, 1328 (D.C. Cir. 1982). In addition to providing ample documentation for their rates, plaintiffs have decided to seek a rate lower than that which they regularly demand in order to provide a figure which the Court would deem reasonable. Based upon the evidence counsel presents and the rates which have been awarded in similar cases, see, e.g., Connors v. Drivers, Chauffers & Helpers, C.A. No. 82-1840 (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 1983), the Court finds that the rates detailed by plaintiffs' counsel are reasonable hourly rates. These rates are as follows:
Attorney/Paralegal 1982 Rate Rate Sought
Roger E. Warin $150 $135
John R. Labovitz $150 $135
David M. Ifshin $100 $ 90
Daryl A. Chamblee $100 $ 90
Jeanne E. Davidson $ 80 $ 75
Colleen P. Mahoney $ 75 $ 75 **
Stephen G. Margeton $ 75 * $ 75
M. Eugenia Snyder $ 50 $ 40
Thomas M. Tuggle $ 40 * $ 40
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