Gail Killefer, ADR Administrator For The USDC, Central District, Offers A Practice Tip For Mediators And Parties In Federal Cases.
Here's the tip from Gail Killefer:
"Motions for attorney's fees may not be referred to a Magistrate Judge in the Central District unless the parties have consented to a Magistrate Judge for all purposes. See General Order 06-01."
Thus, it is beyond risky to reserve and refer an attorney's fees issue to a Magistrate Judge -- unless the parties have consented to the Magistrate Judge for all purposes (in which case the Magistrate Judge is functioning much like a Federal Judge.)
HAT TIP to Gail Killefer!