where both the scope of the claims and the number of complainants are atypical.
At the same time, however, plaintiffs' lead counsel believed that the class had a strong case; he put the odds of success at 75%. See id. at para. 54; Terris Depo. at 41. The Court shares that belief, perhaps even more strongly. Upon consideration, the Court believes that the merits lodestar should be adjusted upward by 20% to fairly compensate plaintiffs' counsel for its efforts in taking on and successfully completing this portion of the litigation. The adjustment produces a final merits award of $337,669.20.
3. Litigation Expenses
The final issue concerns defendant's objection to $2,528.97 of the $35,880.99 sought by plaintiffs as reimbursement for "reasonable litigation expenses." Defendant claims that expenditures on postage, long distance telephone calls, photocopying, and others are part of overhead and thus not compensable. See Def.Mem. at 9. The test for compensability turns on whether the claimed expenses are routinely billed to clients, reasonable in amount, and adequately documented. See Laffey, supra, 572 F. Supp. at 382-83; Plannells v. Howard University, supra, 34 FEP Cases at 71. Plaintiffs' supporting materials and discovery taken by defendant demonstrate that the challenged expenses were and are customarily billed to clients, and given the scale of this action, were reasonable in amount. Consequently, the expenses claimed by plaintiffs should be awarded in full, for a total of $37,971.03.
Courts do not like attorney's fee litigation, and at every opportunity encourage parties to reach settlement. See, e.g., Blum, supra, 104 S. Ct. at 1550 n.19; Concerned Veterans, supra, 675 F.2d at 1330-31. The Court of Appeals in Copeland III and in Concerned Veterans set out specific substantive and procedural standards in part to encourage settlement of fee requests. In particular, the Concerned Veterans case requires the government defendant to assemble a "precise," "limited," "well-founded" challenge to the request, supported by "equally specific countervailing evidence." Id. at 1338 (Tamm, J., concurring), 1326. Blunderbusses do not carry burdens.
In this case plaintiffs filed a comprehensive, reasonable and thoroughly documented fee request. Plaintiffs attached all the required baggage. There are affidavits, resumes, and time slips. It was an eminently professional effort, fully in accord with the letter and spirit of Copeland III and Concerned Veterans.
The government, on the other hand, submitted a nine-page memorandum of law that practically ignores the law, and three lists apparently offered as "equally specific countervailing evidence." This Court has its doubts about the fee calculation standards that have evolved, but it has no doubt that all involved must play by the rules set down by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. Should the government decide that the costs of playing by the rules exceed the difference in settlement positions, it should settle, rather than submit a sadly deficient (but inexpensive) "opposition" to the Court. The government should always remember that judges as well as fee awards are paid from the public treasury.
In sum, the Court concludes that plaintiffs' proposed lodestar figure, adjusted upward by 20%, represents a fully-compensatory fee. The Court is not penalizing defendant for less-than-artful advocacy; the award is based on review of the record and on a reasonable, documented application.
Accordingly, plaintiffs' request for an award of attorney's fees and expenses under 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(k) is granted in the amount of $439,541.48.
An appropriate order follows.