The opinion of the court was delivered by: Spatt, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
This case was commenced by the plaintiffs in August 1993 and
written decisions by this Court and an opinion by the Second
Circuit including White v. White Rose, 930 F. Supp. 814
(E.D.N.Y. 1996), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, White v. White
Rose, 128 F.3d 110 (2d Cir. 1997), on remand, White v. White
Rose Food, 62 F. Supp.2d 878 (E.D.N.Y. 1999). There followed a
non-jury trial, after which the Court rendered a decision on
October 28, 1999 in favor of the plaintiffs on their "duty of
fair representation" claims. See White v. White Rose Food,
72 F. Supp.2d 126 (E.D.N.Y. 1999). Presently before the Court is the
plaintiffs' application for prevailing party attorneys fees.
The Court has previously described the facts in this case in
its three published opinions and incorporates the factual
recitations by reference in this decision.
Representing the prevailing party, counsel for the plaintiffs
seek the sum of $436,396.12 in fees, and an additional sum of
$2,098.68 for disbursements. The request for attorneys fees,
including the "addendum to attorney fee application" and the
affidavit in further support of attorney fee application dated
February 4, 2000, is comprised of the following separate claims:
Leonard N. Flamm, Esq.: 284.9 hours at $325 per hour = $92,592.50
Norman Mednick, Esq.: 530.25 hours at $315 per hour = $167,028.50
Maria D. Beckman, Esq.: 68.1 hours at $215 per hour = $14,641.00
Eden M. Mauro, Esq. 90.1 hours at $185 per hour = $16,668.50
Total hours: 973.35 Total fee requested:
In addition to the above calculations, the plaintiffs request a
50% enhancement due to the "substantial risks of contingent fee
litigation." Thus, the total sum that the plaintiffs request in
fees is $436,396.12 together with disbursements in the sum of
Norman Mednick designated as "of Counsel" to the Law Offices of
Leonard Flamm was the principal trial counsel for the plaintiffs.
Leonard Flamm "second-seated" Mednick at all of the Court
appearances and at the trial. Maria Beckman and Eden Mauro were
associates in the Law Offices of Leonard Flamm and assisted with
case preparation, depositions, court appearances, and the writing
and editing of memoranda of law.
The defendant makes numerous challenges to the plaintiffs
application for attorneys fees. The defendant argues that: (1)
the hourly rates requested by the plaintiffs are not customary
and they are excessive; (2) a 50% enhancement is inappropriate;
(3) much of the time requested was excessive, vague, unreliable,
unreasonable and duplicative; and (4) the plaintiffs request for
costs should be reduced.
Because of the district court's familiarity with the quality of
the representation and the extent of the litigation, the decision
whether to award fees and the amount of fees awarded are issues
generally confined to the sound discretion of the court.
Gierlinger v. Gleason, 160 F.3d 858, 876 (2d Cir. 1998). The
well-known formula for calculating attorney's fees is the
"lodestar" method described in Pennsylvania v. Delaware Valley
Citizens' Council for Clean Air, 478 U.S. 546, 565, 106 S.Ct.
3088, 92 L.Ed.2d 439 (1986). Under this method, the Court makes
an initial calculation of a lodestar amount by multiplying the
number of hours reasonably spent on the litigation by a
reasonable hourly rate. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424,
433, 103 S.Ct. 1933, 76 L.Ed.2d 40 (1983); LeBlanc-Sternberg v.
Fletcher, 143 F.3d 748, 763-64 (2d Cir. 1998); Gierlinger, 160
F.3d at 876; Luciano v. Olsten Corp., 109 F.3d 111 (2d Cir.
If the court finds that certain claimed hours are excessive,
redundant, or otherwise unnecessary, the court should exclude
those hours from its lodestar calculation. Hensley, 461 U.S. at
434, 103 S.Ct. 1933; Luciano, 109 F.3d at 116. Once the initial
lodestar calculation is made, the court should then consider
whether upward or downward adjustments are warranted by factors
such as the extent of success in the litigation and the degree of
risk associated with the claim. Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434 and n.
9, 103 S.Ct. 1933, (citing Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express,
Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-719 [5th Cir. 1974]). In this case,
there is no dispute that the plaintiffs are a prevailing party
and are entitled to an award of their reasonable attorney's fees.
In making the initial lodestar calculation, the Court finds
that the hourly rates requested by the plaintiffs are excessive.
The rate to be used in the calculation must be the rate
"prevailing in the community for similar services by lawyers of
reasonably comparable skill, experience, and reputation."
Luciano, 109 F.3d at 111, (citing Blum v. Stenson,
465 U.S. 886, 896 n. 11, 104 S.Ct. 1541, 79 L.Ed.2d 891 ). Although
the plaintiffs have attached various affidavits to their motion
from other attorneys with similar billable rates, the Court notes
that the Second Circuit has recently upheld this Court's rates of
$200 per hour for partners, $135 per hour for associates, and $50
per hour for paralegals. Savino v. Computer Credit, Inc.,
164 F.3d 81, 87 (2d Cir. 1998); see also Luciano, 109 F.3d at
111-112 (collecting cases); Walz v. Town of Smithtown,
46 F.3d 162 (2d Cir. 1995); Cruz v. Local Union No. 3, Int'l.
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 34 F.3d 1148, 1160 (2d Cir.
1994); Terminate Control Corp. v. Horowitz, 28 F.3d 1335 (2d
Cir. 1994). Therefore, the Court will apply those rates in making
the initial lodestar calculation. Although Mednick is Of Counsel
to the Law Offices of Leonard N. Flamm, he served as lead counsel
in this case. Therefore, in making the lodestar calculation, the
Court will apply the $200 per hour rate for Mednick. With regard
to Flamm, the Court will also apply the $200 per hour rate. As to
Associates Beckman and Mauro, the Court will apply the $135 per
Based on these findings, the Court determines that the initial
lodestar calculation based on the reduced ...