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FAUNTLEROY v. STASZAK

April 30, 1998

DARCEL and LAWRENCE FAUNTLEROY, JR., HEATHER MATTHEWS, YVONNNE and NORMAN BENJAMIN, DALLAS WILLIAMS, SHERYL and RICHARD LOCKSKIN, and THERESA and LAVERNE HAYDEN, Plaintiffs,
v.
RICHARD STASZAK, Individually and in his official capacity as Commissioner, SCHENECTADY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCAVOY

MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER

 Following settlement of the instant action brought under 42 U.S.C. section 1981, Plaintiffs now move for an order awarding attorneys' fees.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiffs, represented by the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Inc., and the Greater Upstate Law Project, Inc., commenced this litigation in 1990 challenging Defendant's procedures for the issuance of certain public assistance benefits. On February 18, 1992, a consent decree settling the case was approved by the Court (the "Consent Decree").

 The Consent Decree required periodic reporting by Defendant for three years concerning the timeliness of benefit applications. These reports contained detailed information regarding the number of applications for public assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid; the date the applications were filed; the date of interview; the date a determination was made on the application; and, the date a check was issued. Defendant also was required, inter alia, to produce data showing the number of applications disposed of within thirty days of filing, broken down by the number of applications granted, denied, and withdrawn.

 By consent of the parties, the terms of the Consent Decree were extended, with some modifications, three times until May, 1997. Plaintiffs' attorneys devoted significant hours monitoring Defendant's compliance with the Consent Decree, including reviewing the required reports and performing statistical analyses of the data provided. According to Plaintiffs, this monitoring was particularly necessary because Defendant's reports showed continued delays in the processing of public assistance applications.

 Plaintiffs' attorneys now move the Court for an order awarding attorneys' fees for the time spent monitoring Defendant's compliance with the Consent Decree. They seek $ 75,735, broken down as follows:

 
Greater Upstate Law Project
 
Susan Antos: 109.8 hours at $ 150 per hour: $ 16,470
 
Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York
 
Lewis Steele: 270.7 hours at $ 150 per hour: $ 40,605
 
Albert Jackson: 248.8 hours at $ 75 per hour: $ 18,660

 II. DISCUSSION

 Defendant opposes Plaintiffs' fee application on the basis that (1) Plaintiffs are not prevailing parties, (2) Plaintiffs waived their right to request attorneys' fees, ...


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