much as $360 per hour for work performed in 2001-2002.
Thus, counsel's claim of $220 per hour is by no means excessive.
In addition to their supplemental request for legal fees, plaintiffs'
counsel filed an original motion to compel the District to pay expert
witness and attorney's fees. In that motion, plaintiffs seek pre and
post-judgment interest on both sums due to substantial delays in payment.
Plains. Mot. at 3. Plaintiffs' motion brought to this court's attention
the utter disregard the Office of Corporation Counsel has for meeting
specified deadlines. Id. at 2-3.
Plaintiffs' designated expert witness, Dr. Terry Edelstein, was deposed
on June 19, 2001, and Mr. Bolden of the Office of Corporation Counsel
agreed to pay for the expert testimony. Id. at Exhibit A ¶ 16-22. On June
27, 2001, Dr. Edelstein submitted an invoice to Mr. Bolden. Id. at
Exhibit B. Thereafter, having received no response from the District, on
November 12, 2001, plaintiffs' counsel inquired about Dr. Edelstein's
invoice. Id. at Exhibit C. Over two weeks later, on November 30, 2001,
the District finally responded, stating that "the Edelstein voucher [had
been submitted] for payment many months ago," and that Mr. Bolden had
inquired about the delay. Id. at Exhibit D. However, according to the
record, no update was ever provided to plaintiffs' counsel. The new year
passed with neither a communication nor a check from the District in
payment of Dr. Edelstein's invoice. See id. at Exhibits E & F. On
February 1, 2002, a check was made out to School Support Services,
L.L.C., (the name of Dr. Edelstein's practice) but mailed, however, to a
completely incorrect address.*fn3 Finally, on April 2, 2002, Dr.
Edelstein received the payment-over nine months from the date of the
deposition and two months after the check was sent to the wrong address.
Lastly, payment of awarded attorney's fees by Order of this court has
also been late in coming. Order, October 26, 2001 [#86]. The District
first requested Social Security and tax identification numbers for
plaintiffs and their counsel. Plains. Mot. at Exhibit D. That information
was promptly supplied by plaintiffs on December 2, 2001. Id. at Exhibit
G. In their opposition to plaintiffs' motion to compel, the District
claimed the payment was scheduled to be made "on or about March 8, 2002."
Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Defendants District of Columbia
and Arlene Ackerman to Pay Expert Witness and Attorney's Fees Or,
Alternatively, For An Order Directing Defendants to Show Cause Why They
Should Not Be Held In Contempt ("Defs. Opp.") at 1. Payment was
eventually made by check dated March 12, 2002, and was received by
plaintiffs' counsel on March 25, 2002. Again, this payment was made close
to five months after this court awarded attorney's fees for plaintiffs.
In my view, Ms. Savit is entitled to post-judgment interest as a matter
of statutory right. 28 U.S.C.A. § 1961(a) (West
Supp. 2002). I note,
however, with reluctance, that Dr. Edelstein, is not entitled to interest
for the period from the submission of his invoice on November 5, 2001,
until payment on April 2, 2002, because no "money judgment" was entered
in his behalf under that statute. Dr. Edelstein can only rely on Mr.
Bolden's promise to pay made at the deposition. I note here only that the
District of Columbia has created for itself an exception to the Bar's
practice of promptly paying for what it purchases. In the future, I will
seriously consider requiring the District to pay in advance for any
expert deposition it seeks to take or preclude it from taking it.
Thus, Ms. Savit is entitled to post-judgment interest at a rate of
2.379% for the time period between October 26, 2001, and March 12,
2002.*fn4 She will also be entitled to interest on the amount I
am awarding now by Order of this Court, to be calculated for the period of
time between the date of this order until the day she is paid. Such
additional interest will be determined in accordance with 28 U.S.C.A. §
1961(a). I will, however, deny any claim for pre-judgment interest. I
find that the one case disallowing it in this situation to be
persuasive. Remington v. North American Philips, Corp., 763 F. Supp. 683,
684-85 (D.Conn. 1991).
An Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
Pursuant to the accompanying Memorandum Opinion, it is hereby, ORDERED
that defendant District of Columbia pay plaintiffs' counsel the
additional $200 incurred in connection with the original motion to compel
discovery, which was mistakenly omitted. It is further, hereby,
ORDERED that defendant District of Columbia pay post-judgment interest
on the late payment of attorney's fees at the rate of 2.379% from the
date of the Order, October 26, 2001, to the date the award was actually
paid, March 12, 2002. The calculation is as follows:
$7,769.0100 Award of attorney's fees:
x .2379 Interest rate percentage
$184.130 Per annum interest due
x .375 Approximate delay in payment:
Amount of interest awarded: $69.31
Therefore, defendant District of Columbia shall pay plaintiffs' counsel
$64.92 in post-judgment interest for the substantial delay in payment of
awarded attorney's fees. It is further, hereby,
ORDERED that defendant District of Columbia pay plaintiffs' counsel
$9,746.28 plus post-judgment interest for legal fees and expenses
incurred due to defendant's failure to comply with the Order of this
Court dated August, 9, 2000.