the specific case. The "best evidence" of a reasonable rate is that customarily charged by the applicant. Concerned Veterans, 675 F.2d at 1325. Plaintiffs request a fee of $110 per hour for Mr. Banks and $150 per hour for Mr. Wilson.
Mr. Banks has provided this court with a detailed record of his experience in this area, but he did not provide the court with adequate documentation for his billing rate, e.g., fees awarded in other similar cases. This court believes that, at current market rates, the work performed by Mr. Banks in this case should be compensated at a rate of $85 per hour.
Mr. Wilson is a more experienced attorney, who has been practicing law for over twenty-two years. Once again, however, Mr. Wilson has not provided this court with adequate documentation of actual billings to justify his requested rate. He has indicated that his billing rate is $100-110 per hour for commercial cases. On environmental matters, such as the present case, he charges a reduced rate between $40 and $60 per hour. Although Mr. Wilson is not limited to the rate actually charged in this reduced fee agreement, this rate does not help to document his requested rate. Furthermore, Mr. Wilson participated in this case in a supervisory capacity, and did not lend his considerable expertise to the day-to-day matters in this case. This court finds that Mr. Wilson should be compensated at a rate of $100 per hour.
C. Adjustment of "Lodestar"
The key factor in the adjustment of the lodestar is the degree of success that the applicant has achieved in the case. The Supreme Court has stated that where an applicant "has obtained excellent results, his attorney should recover a fully compensatory fee." Hensley, 103 S. Ct. at 1940. This court finds that the plaintiffs in this case have achieved "excellent results" and are entitled to the full amount of the lodestar. Plaintiffs have done nothing to justify any adjustment of the lodestar, let alone an award of 210 percent of that figure. The result in this case was not extraordinary and would not require a fee award of over double the lodestar amount. Furthermore, any delay in payment of the fee is compensated by the award of attorneys' fees at the current market rate for work performed in this case. See Concerned Veterans, 675 F.2d at 1329.
III. Fees Expended in Preparing Application for Attorneys' Fees.
It is beyond question that time spent litigating a fee request is itself compensable. See Copeland v. Marshall, 205 U.S. App. D.C. 390, 641 F.2d 880, 896 (D.C. Cir. 1980). To hold otherwise would thwart the intent of the attorneys' fees provision of this Act and would penalize plaintiffs who attempt to comply with the requirements of Concerned Veterans, supra. The more difficult problem involves where liability for these fees should fall. The majority of Trilling & Kennedy's work in preparing this application would have been performed even if intervenors had not entered the case. All of the documentation concerning the reasonable rates for Banks and Wilson would have had to have been prepared. Although the record would have been somewhat less substantial, Trilling & Kennedy would have conducted a review of that record, nonetheless. This court is unable to determine what percentage intervenors added to the work performed by Trilling & Kennedy. Because, as stated above, the bulk of this work was not necessitated by intervenors' presence in the case, this court finds that EPA is liable for the work done by Trilling & Kennedy.
EPA argues that plaintiffs are not entitled to any remuneration for the preparation of the fee application because they did not enter into any serious fee negotiations. Although meaningful negotiation should be encouraged at all stages of litigation, it is not a prerequisite for obtaining attorneys' fees under this statute. This court will not write such a restriction into the language of the Act.
Trilling & Kennedy have provided adequate documentation of the number of hours worked on the application. There was some inefficiency caused by the hiring of an outside firm to prepare the application, however, even though that inefficiency was partially compensated for by the reduction of 102.60 hours from the number of hours requested. Furthermore, it appears that an excessively detailed review of the record was conducted. Finally, a significant portion of the application is devoted to arguing that NRDC is entitled to fees against intervenors. As stated above, this argument failed. This court finds that the remaining hours should be reduced to 50 hours for Kennedy & Trilling and 40 hours for Sosnick and Doherty. Furthermore, it is not proper billing judgment to compensate the preparation of the fee application at a higher rate than the preparation of the case-in-chief. Mr. Trilling and Mr. Kennedy, therefore, should be compensated at a rate of $90 per hour, and Ms. Sosnick and Ms. Doherty should be compensated at a rate of $40 per hour. Nothing in the record warrants an upward adjustment of this figure.
An appropriate Order accompanies this Memorandum.
This matter comes before the court on the motion of the plaintiffs for attorneys' fees. After careful consideration of the memoranda submitted by the parties as well as the entire record herein, in it, by the court, this 20th day of June, 1984,
ORDERED that plaintiffs shall be entitled to attorneys' fees against EPA in the amount of $24,161.15 ($13,361.15 of which represents attorneys' fees for Banks; $4,700 for Wilson; $4,500 for Trilling and Kennedy and $1,600 for Sosnick and Doherty).