practical effect of restoring competition in the marketplace by
permanently enjoining defendants from enforcing that provision.
C. Determining Reasonable Attorney's Fees
The Court must now determine what amount of fees is reasonable
under the circumstances of this case. "The process of
determining a reasonable fee ordinarily begins with the court's
calculation of a so-called `loadstar' figure, which is arrived
at by multiplying `the number of hours reasonably expended on
the litigation . . . by a reasonable hourly rate.'"
LeBlanc-Sternberg v. Fletcher, 143 F.3d 748, 763-64 (2d Cir.
1998) (quoting Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433, 103
S.Ct. 1933, 76 L.Ed.2d 40 (1983)); see also USFL, 887 F.2d at
413. The lodestar figure is to be based upon current,
prevailing market rates. See LeBlanc-Sternberg, 143 F.3d at
764. The amount figured into the lodestar includes "the number
of hours claimed by plaintiffs' attorneys that are supported by
time records, that are not excessive or duplicative, and that
do not reflect work done only in connection with unrelated
claims on which plaintiffs did not succeed." Id. There is a
strong presumption that this lodestar figure represents a
reasonable fee. See id.; see also USFL, 887 F.2d at 413.
Once the lodestar figure has been calculated, the Court may
adjust the lodestar, taking into consideration several factors.
See Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434 n. 9, 103 S.Ct. 1933 (citing
Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714,
717-18 (5th Cir. 1974)). "[I]f the court excludes claimed hours
from the calculation of the lodestar figure or augments or
reduces that figure it must state its reasons for doing so as
specifically as possible." LeBlanc-Sternberg, 143 F.3d at 764
(internal quotations and citations omitted).
Courts are empowered with broad discretion to independently
determine the reasonableness of an award for attorney's fees.
See Jones v. Amalgamated Warbasse Houses, Inc., 721 F.2d 881,
884 (2d Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 466 U.S. 944, 104 S.Ct.
1929, 80 L.Ed.2d 474 (1984); McCann v. Coughlin,
698 F.2d 112, 131 (2d Cir. 1983) ("[W]hen a party seeks an award of
attorney fees . . . he must provide the court with
contemporaneous time sheets or other documentation which will
enable it to make an independent evaluation of the fee
request.") (emphasis added). Thus, this Court will make an
independent assessment of the reasonableness of the hourly
rates and the number of hours billed by plaintiffs' counsel.
1. Reasonable Rates
Plaintiffs seek attorney's fees of $70,211.75 for a total of
486.15 hours, representing 123.9 hours of partner time, 244.5
hours of experienced associate time, and 117.75 hours of
paralegal time*fn2. In their computations, plaintiffs use
hourly rates ranging up to $225.00 per hour for partners,
$150.00 for experienced associates, and $65.00 for paralegals.
As this Court recently discussed in TM Park Ave. Assocs. v.
Pataki, 44 F. Supp.2d 158, 167 (1999), the applicable hourly
rate depends on an attorney's professional experience. Thus, as
a general rule, attorneys with significant experience and
numerous years of practice are entitled to reimbursement at the
hourly-rate of $175.00; attorneys with four or more years of
experience at the hourly rate of $125.00; and newly-admitted
attorneys at the rate of $100.00 per hour. See TM Park Ave.
Assocs., 44 F. Supp.2d at 167; Carroll v. DeBuono,
48 F. Supp.2d 191, 193-95 (N.D.N.Y. 1999). Although TM Park
awarded paralegal time at $50.00 per hour based on the fact
that plaintiff failed to substantiate that a higher rate was
see TM Park Ave. Assocs., 44 F. Supp.2d at 167, this Court
finds that $65.00 per hour is the prevailing rate for paralegal
work in this district. Accordingly, the Court will apply these
rates in calculating plaintiffs' award of attorney's fees.
2. Reasonable Hours
Defendants claim, with little specificity, that the total
number of hours billed by plaintiffs' attorneys is excessive.
While defendants generally challenge the time incurred by
plaintiffs' counsel with respect to legal research and drafting
the Complaint and moving papers, the Court will nonetheless
independently review the reasonableness of plaintiffs'
counsel's time records.
In the area of legal research, the Court estimates that
plaintiffs' counsel expended approximately 120 hours for legal
research. Based upon the existing precedent in the areas of
labor and antitrust law at issue in the case, and plaintiffs'
counsel's considerable expertise in these areas, the Court
finds that 120 hours of research is excessive and that a
reduction of hours billed for research by 20%, or 24 hours, is
warranted. This reduction should be spread equally between the
total partner and associate time. The Court finds, however,
that the remaining time incurred by counsel, including, but not
limited to drafting the Complaint and moving papers, is
reasonable under the circumstances. Accordingly, total partner
hours are reduced to 111.9 hours, and total associate hours are
reduced to 232.5 hours.
3. Lodestar Calculation
Applying the prevailing hourly rates for this district and
adjusting for total billable hours as discussed above, the
lodestar calculation is as follows:
Partners: 111.9 hours * $175.00/hour = $19,582.50
Associates: 232.5 hours * $125.00/hour = $29,062.50
Paralegals: 117.75 hours * $65.00/hour = $7,653.75
Total Lodestar Amount. $56,298.75
In summary, the Court awards plaintiffs attorney's fees in the
amount of $56,298.75 against defendants Local Union 38 of the
Sheet Metal Workers International Association and Sheet Metal &
Roofing Employers Association of Southeastern New York, Inc.
IT IS SO ORDERED