1992. More importantly, even if CAAIG's financial condition is
unstable, the Court is of the view that to deny the plaintiffs'
request for attorneys' fees would be tantamount to rewarding the
defendants for depleting the funds of the segregated
contributions made by the plaintiffs who requested the return of
the funds approximately eight years ago.
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 attorneys' 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 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 ). 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). In addition, travel time should be
reduced by 50% of the billable rate. Luciano, 925 F. Supp. at
965, aff'd, Luciano v. Olsten Corp., 109 F.3d 111 (2d Cir.
1997); Cruz, 34 F.3d at 1161 (citing Jennette v. City of New
York, 800 F. Supp. 1165, 1170 [S.D.N.Y. 1992]).
The plaintiffs' hourly rates consist of Alexander A. Miuccio,
Esq., $250 per hour and $125 per hour for travel time; Barry L.
Mendelson, Esq., $150 per hour and $75 per hour for travel time;
Gary Wirth, Esq., $150 per hour and $75 per hour for travel time;
and Robert Wasko, Esq., $150 per hour and $75 per hour for travel
time. The hourly rates requested by the plaintiffs are modified
as follows: Alexander A. Miuccio, Esq., $200 per hour and $100
per hour for travel time; Barry L. Mendelson, Esq., $135 per hour
and $65 per hour for travel time; Gary Wirth, Esq., $135 per hour
and $65 per hour for travel time; and Robert Wasko, Esq., $135
per hour and $65 per hour for travel time. Based upon these
applicable rates, the total amount of attorneys' fees is the sum
Finally, the Court notes that the plaintiffs' request for
computer legal research in the sum of $5054.06 is denied. See
U.S. for the Use and Benefit of Evergreen
Pipeline Const. Co., Inc. v. Merritt Meridian Construction
Corp., 95 F.3d 153, 173 (2d Cir. 1996) (holding that "computer
research is merely a substitute for an attorney's time that is
compensable under an application for attorneys' fees and is not a
separately taxable cost.") Id. (citation omitted).
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED, that the plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration is
GRANTED and the Court's March 3, 2000 Order is hereby amended
so that the defendants are directed to return to Head Start the
sum of $497,736 plus prejudgment interest from September 1, 1992,
at the United States Treasury Bill Rate, to be calculated by the
Clerk of the Court; and it is further
ORDERED, that the judgment shall include attorneys' fees in
the sum of $151,375 and costs in the sum of $22,448.78.
ORDERED, that the defendants' motion for reconsideration on
the issue of CAAIG's financial stability is DENIED; and it is
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