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EEOC v. HONG KONG & SHANGHAI BANKING CORP.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


August 29, 1995

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Plaintiff,
v.
Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Ltd., Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONSTANCE BAKER MOTLEY

Memorandum Opinion on Counsel Fees

 On May 17, 1995 this court awarded attorneys' fees to the plaintiff, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, ("EEOC") for its time spent in connection with the hearings before the court on May 16 and May 17, 1995 regarding the defendants failure to produce documents. Subsequently, plaintiff's attorneys submitted signed and notarized affidavits detailing the time spent and hourly fees for all activities directly related to the May 17, 1995 conference. Defendants responded on May 31, 1995 and raised two objections: 1) that the work performed by Attorney Peart and Attorney Le Count is duplicative and 2) that no compensation should be made for preparing form affidavits in connection with the fee application.

 In considering a reasonable hourly rate for counsel, the courts usually consider the prevailing market rates of the relevant legal community. Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895 n. 11, 79 L. Ed. 2d 891, 104 S. Ct. 1541 (1984) (holding attorneys must demonstrate their fees are "in line with those prevailing in the community for similar services by lawyers of reasonably comparable skill, experience, and reputation."; Reyes v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 807 F. Supp. 293, 297 (S.D.N.Y. 1992) (Motley, J.). In this Circuit, it is well established that this community is the judicial district in which the trial court sits. In re "Agent Orange" Prod. Liab. Litig., 818 F.2d 226, 232 (2d. Cir. 1987). See also Shlomchik v. Richmond 103 Equities Co., 763 F. Supp. 732, 743-33 (S.D.N.Y. 1991) (awarding suburban Philadelphia attorney a higher New York City rate as action was litigated in Southern District).

 Pursuant to the holding of Miele v. New York State Teamsters Conference Pension & Retirement Fund, 831 F.2d 407, 408-09 (2d Cir. 1987), courts may apply prevailing market rates for "Wall Street" associates to fee awards for nonprofit organizations. See also Ossie Davis v. City of New Rochelle, 156 F.R.D. 549, 557 (S.D.N.Y. 1994). The recent decisions in this district demonstrate that plaintiff's attorneys hourly rates are reasonable in light of prevailing market rates in the Southern District. See, e.g. Monaghan v. SZS Associates, 154 F.R.D. 78 (S.D.N.Y. 1994) (awarding partners $ 300 per hour and associates $ 180 per hour for work performed in 1992 and 1993); In Re McDonnell Douglas Equipment Securities Litigation, 842 F. Supp. 733 (S.D.N.Y. 1994) (approving a range up to $ 425 per hour for partners); Loper v. New York City Police Department, 1994 WL 202606 (S.D.N.Y. May 24, 1994) (awarding an attorney with 7 years experience $ 250 per hour); McGuire v. Wilson, 1994 WL 68222 (S.D.N.Y. February 28, 1994) (awarding an hourly billing rate of $ 105-$ 150 for an associate).

 Upon review of the submissions which have been filed, the court finds that $ 300 is a reasonable hourly rate for Attorney Lee, $ 250 is a reasonable hourly rate for Attorney Statis, $ 175 is a reasonable hourly rate for Attorney Le Count, and $ 200 is a reasonable hourly rate for Attorney Peart. Moreover, defendants did not object to these hourly rates.

 In their affidavits, Attorneys Statis and Lee spent 1.75 hours and .50 hours respectively in preparation. As defendants do not object to the award of fees to Attorneys Statis and Lee the court orders that defendants pay the amount of $ 437.50 for Statis and $ 150 for Lee.

 As to defendants' objections to Le Count's compensation, the court finds that the work performed by Peart and Le Count is not exactly duplicative, and is, therefore, fair and reasonable but that there is no reason to compensate Le Count and Peart for preparing essentially form affidavits. Therefore, the court orders compensation for Le Count for only 9.25 hours instead of 10.75 hours and compensation for Peart for only 12.75 instead of 15.75. Therefore, defendants are ordered to pay $ 1618.75 in attorneys' fees for Attorney Le Count and $ 2550 for Attorney Peart.

 In total, defendants are ordered to pay to the plaintiff, EEOC, the sum of $ 4756.25 on or before thirty days after the entry of this order.

 August 29, 1995

 New York, New York

 CONSTANCE BAKER MOTLEY

 U.S.D.J.

19950829

© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.



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