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TWA v. HUGHES

April 13, 1970

Trans World Airlines, Inc., Plaintiff
v.
Howard R. Hughes, Hughes Tool Co. and Raymond M. Holliday, Defendants


Metzner, D. J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: METZNER

METZNER, D. J.

Plaintiff, Trans World Airlines, Inc., moves for the award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs of suit as the successful party in this antitrust litigation. Clayton Act § 4, 15 U.S.C. § 15. Plaintiff requests counsel fees in the sum of $10,500,000 and costs of suit in the sum of $2,230,602.

 This court has already awarded damages in the sum of $137,611,435.95. 308 F. Supp. 679 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 1969).

 The general rule is that the fixing of counsel fees in an antitrust action is within the discretion of the trial court, "reasonably exercised." Montague & Co. v. Lowry, 193 U.S. 38, 48, 48 L. Ed. 608, 24 S. Ct. 307 (1904). The problem of how to exercise this discretion reasonably has been the subject of much discussion. Farmington Dowel Prods. Co. v. Forster Mfg. Co., 297 F. Supp. 924 (D. Me. 1969), modified on appeal, 421 F.2d 61 (1st Cir. 1969); Hanover Shoe, Inc. v. United Shoe Mach. Corp., 245 F. Supp. 258, 302 (M.D. Pa. 1965), vacated on other grounds, 377 F.2d 776 (3d Cir. 1967), aff'd in part on other grounds, rev'd in part on other grounds, 392 U.S. 481, 88 S. Ct. 2224, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1231 (1968); Noerr Motor Freight, Inc. v. Eastern R. R. Pres. Conf., 166 F. Supp. 163, 168 (E.D. Pa. 1958), aff'd, 273 F.2d 218 (3d Cir. 1959), rev'd on other grounds, 365 U.S. 127, 81 S. Ct. 523, 5 L. Ed. 2d 464 (1961). In Hanover Shoe, supra, 245 F. Supp. at 302, the court detailed what appear to be the generally accepted factors to be weighed in determining a reasonable attorney's fee. They are:

 
"(1) whether plaintiff's counsel had the benefit of a prior judgment or decree in a case brought by the Government,
 
(2) the standing of counsel at the bar - both counsel receiving the award and opposing counsel,
 
(3) time and labor spent,
 
(4) magnitude and complexity of the litigation,
 
(5) responsibility undertaken,
 
(6) the amount recovered,
 
(7) the knowledge the court has of the conferences, arguments that were presented and of work shown by the record to have been done by attorneys for the plaintiff prior to trial,
 
(8) what it would be reasonable for counsel to charge a victorious plaintiff."

 However, these factors are only general guidelines and in the final analysis "The reasonableness of an attorney's fee can only be determined with reference to a particular case." Noerr, supra, 166 F. Supp. at 168.

 We have here an unprecedented recovery - some 30 times greater than the next highest recoveries on record. In Union Carbide & Carbon Corp. v. Nisley, 300 F.2d 561, 587 (10th Cir. 1961), petition for cert. dismissed per stipulation, Wade v. Union Carbide, 371 U.S. 801, 83 S. Ct. 13, 9 L. Ed. 2d 46 (1962), the treble damages were $4,400,000 and in Hanover Shoe, supra, 245 F. Supp. at 302, they were $4,239,000. Obviously the fee to be awarded will be unprecedented, but the court will attempt to ...


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