such as "preparation for trial," "research," or "correspondence
with . . ." Some of these vague time entries also include
unnecessary and duplicative work. For instance, Ms. Pordy
includes entries for at least 44 hours of trial appearances and
meetings with Mr. Nikolaidis. In a simple case such as this, it
was unnecessary to have both an experienced partner and a
less-experienced associate present at trial. See, e.g., Dailey
v. Societe Generale, 915 F. Supp. 1315, 1327-28 (S.D.N.Y. 1996),
Luciano v. Olsten, 925 F. Supp. 956, 965 (E.D.N.Y. 1996).
Furthermore, it would be duplicative and excessive to reimburse
plaintiff for hours spent in conferences between two attorneys in
the same firm. See Luciano, 925 F. Supp. at 966. Therefore,
between the vague and duplicative entries, the court finds that
30% of the remaining 73 hours, 21.90 hours, reflect a reasonable
amount of time spent on the retaliation claim.
Accordingly, the court finds that Ms. Pordy is entitled to fees
for 63.45*fn2 hours of work.
Plaintiffs seek compensation for three hours of time spent by
Daniel Clifton for editing a Memorandum of Law on July 2, 1998.
Some of this time was certainly related to the unsuccessful
claims. Therefore, the court finds that 66.7% of this time was
reasonably related to the retaliation claim, leaving Clifton with
two hours of compensable time.
2. Reasonable Hourly Rate
In determining the reasonable hourly rate in an attorneys fee
application, the District Court must first determine "the
prevailing market rates in the relevant community." Chambless v.
Masters, Mates and Pilots Pension Plan, 885 F.2d 1053, 1058 (2d
Cir. 1989), citing Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895, 104
S.Ct. 1541, 79 L.Ed.2d 891 (1984). An hourly rate is reasonable
if "the requested rates are in line with those prevailing in the
community for similar services by lawyers of reasonably
comparable skill, experience and reputation." Blum v. Stenson,
465 U.S. at 896 n. 11, 104 S.Ct. 1541.
Plaintiff seeks an hourly rate of $250 for Louie Nikolaidis.
Mr. Nikolaidis is a January 1985 graduate of Rutgers-Newark
School of Law who was admitted to practice law in New York and
New Jersey in 1985. Mr. Nikolaidis has been an employment law and
employment discrimination litigator since 1986. The requested
hourly rate of $250 is reasonable and in line with counsel fee
awards in the community. See, e.g., Losciale v. Port Authority
of New York and New Jersey, 1999 WL 587928, *8 (S.D.N Y
1999) (awarding hourly rate of $250 for employment discrimination
attorney admitted in 1984); Gavin-Mouklas v. Information
Builders, Inc., 1999 WL 728636 (S.D.N.Y.) ("the acceptable range
seems to be between $200 and $300," Id. at *5). Therefore,
the court will calculate Louie Nikolaidis' fee at a rate of
$250.00 per hour, with the exception of trial appearances, which
will be compensated at a rate of $300.00 per hour.
Plaintiffs seek an hourly rate of $175 for Hope Pordy. Ms.
Pordy is a 1994 graduate of Fordham University School of Law who
was admitted to the bars of New York and New Jersey in 1995. Ms.
Pordy worked for two and one-half years as a staff attorney for a
union and one year as a staff attorney for a public interest
research group prior to becoming an associate at Lewis,
Greenwald, Clifton & Nikolaidis, where she has been an associate
since January 1998. Altogether, Ms. Pordy only had between four
and five years of experience while she was working on the instant
case, the requested hourly rate of $175 is reasonable and in line
with counsel fee awards in the community. See, e.g., Losciale v.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 1999 WL 587928,
*8 (S.D.N.Y. 1999) (employment discrimination
case awarding hourly rate of $175 for counsel admitted in 1996);
Greenbaum v. Svenska Handelsbanken, 998 F. Supp. 301, 304
("given [the attorney's] relative inexperience with this type of
litigation, coupled with the lack of necessity for two
experienced senior attorneys to have tried this case, $200/hr is
a reasonable rate," Id.). Therefore, the court finds that $175
is a reasonable hourly rate for Hope Pordy.
Plaintiff seeks fees at an hourly rate of $300 for Daniel
Clifton's three hours of work. Daniel Clifton is a 1977 graduate
of Northeastern University School of Law and was admitted to the
New York State Bar in 1978. Since that time, Mr. Clifton has
litigated primarily in the field of labor law and employee
rights. Mr. Clifton is a member of several unions in the New York
area and has taught labor law at Rutgers University. The
requested hourly rate of $300 is in line with counsel fee awards
in the community. See, e.g., Ginsberg v. Valhalla Anesthesia,
1998 WL 19997 (S.D.N.Y.) (finding that "a rate of $300 per hour
is reasonable for a lead attorney of [her] stature and
experience." Id. at *2). Therefore, the court finds that
$300 is a reasonable hourly rate for Daniel Clifton.
3. Initial Lodestar Figure
Based on the reasonable hours and reasonable rates as
determined above, the court calculates the initial lodestar
figure to be $65,978.75, arrived at on the following basis:
(1) Fees for Louie Nikolaidis at an hourly rate of
$250 for 169.10 hours of out-of-court time plus
fees at an hourly rate of $300 for 40 hours of
trial appearances*fn3, in the amount of
(2) Fees for Hope Pordy at an hourly rate of $175 for
63.45 hours of work, in the amount of $11,103.75;
(3) Fees for Daniel Clifton at an hourly rate of
$300.00 for 2 hours of work, in the amount of
B. Adjustment for Limited Success
"Where `a plaintiff has achieved only partial or limited
success,' full compensation for attorney's fees would not be
reasonable. The district court may either `attempt to identify
specific hours that should be eliminated, or it may simply reduce
the award to account for the limited success.'" United States
Football League v. National Football League, 887 F.2d 408, 414
(2d Cir. 1989) (citations omitted) (quoting Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 436-437, 103 S.Ct. 1933, 76 L.Ed.2d 40
(1983)). In the instant case, plaintiff Robinson asserted claims
of race discrimination and retaliation, seeking $1,000,000.00 in
compensatory damages, back pay, front pay and punitive damages.
Robinson did not prevail on her race discrimination claim, did
not prevail on her punitive damages claim, and was awarded only
$17,000.00 in back pay and $6,000.00 in compensatory damages.
Considering that the primary claim asserted by plaintiff was
defeated, and that her ultimate recovery was more than 40 times
less than the damages sought, the court adjusts the lodestar
amount downward to account for the limited success in this
action. Therefore, the court reduces the initial attorneys fee
calculation, $65,978.75, by 50%, awarding plaintiff $32,989.38 in
C. Paralegal Fees and Costs and Disbursements
In plaintiff's fee application, plaintiff also seeks
reimbursement for paralegal time and costs and disbursements.
Plaintiff requests fees at an hourly rate of $50.00 for 16 hours
of paralegal time, in the amount of $800.00. As to costs,
plaintiff seeks $3,405.59. The court finds this request to be
reasonable and grants the request for a
total of $4205.59 in paralegal fees and costs and disbursements.
In accordance with the discussion above, the court grants
plaintiffs $32,989.38 in attorneys fees and $4205.59 in paralegal
fees and costs. Thus, plaintiff's application for attorneys' fees
and costs is granted in the amount of $37,194.97.