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.
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applications disposed of within thirty days of filing, broken down by the number of applications granted, denied, and withdrawn.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
Defendant opposes Plaintiffs' fee application on the basis that (1) Plaintiffs are not prevailing parties, (2) Plaintiffs waived their right to request attorneys' fees, ...