District Judge Determined Hourly Rates Using Laffey Matrix.
In a follow-up to a post we did on March 27, 2011, we can now report that District of Columbia U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has ordered the District of Columbia to pay attorney’s fees of $1,137,072.27 to the attorneys representing plaintiff Dick Heller is his D.C. handgun ban action.
Plantiffs’ attorneys had requested over $3.1 million as a fee award, while D.C. argued that the award should be closer to $840,000.
In fashioning his award, District Judge Sullivan determined that the reasonable hourly rate should be pegged using the Laffey Matrix (not the updated Laffey Matrix urged by plaintiffs), although observing that neither matrix was “perfect.” Most of the attorneys were awarded an hourly rate of $420 (not the $589 rate requested by plaintiffs), although one 4-7 year attorney was awarded a $275 rate and another older attorney was awarded a $315 rate for having little litigation experience. The district judge determined that the requested rates were only appropriate for D.C. attorneys in larger firms.
District Judge Sullivan reduced some requested fee billings by 10% for reconstructed (rather than contemporaneously recorded) time, also reducing one attorney’s billings by 25% for vague/inadequately documented billing entries.
The judge awarded no fee enhancement based on the reasoning in Perdue v. Kenny A., 130 S.Ct. 1662 (2010).
For those wanting to see the December 29, 2011 Memorandum Opinion in this area, it can be accessed on the Ballot Access News website.