The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kahn, District Judge.
Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion for
reconsideration. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion
for reconsideration is GRANTED.
The Attorney General of the State of New York filed the
instant class action lawsuit on July 15, 1997. The case was
brought following an investigation into Defendants' rental
practices. The complaint alleges that Defendants engaged in a
pattern and practice of discrimination based on race, national
origin, age, and disability in the use and enjoyment of their
public accommodations in violation of a variety of civil rights
statutes. Plaintiffs Helena Hudson, Novella Moore, Dorothy
Hudson, and Sandra Corriders ("Intervenors") filed
unopposed motions to intervene, which were granted on March 30,
1998, and subsequently filed complaints.
Pursuant to a consent order dated May 24, 1999, Defendants
agreed to pay $1,000.00 to each individual who had filed a
consumer complaint with the Attorney General along with an
additional $3,000.00 to each of the intervening plaintiffs.
Thereafter, Ronald VanNorstrand, Esq., attorney for plaintiff
Sandra Corriders, and Faith Seidenberg, Esq., attorney for
plaintiffs Helen Hudson, Novella Moore, and Dorothy Hudson,
sought attorneys' fees of $16,430.00 and $25,576.22,
respectively, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
By an Order dated May 16, 2000, this Court denied Plaintiffs'
motions for attorneys' fees, finding that the time records
submitted in support of the motions were too vague and
contradictory for the Court to determine the reasonableness of
the claimed hours. Plaintiffs now seek a reconsideration of that
A. Standard for Reconsideration
Motions for reconsideration proceed in the Northern District
of New York under Local Rule 7.1(g), unless otherwise governed
by Fed.R.Civ.P. 60. The "clearly erroneous" standard of review
applies to motions for reconsideration. The moving party must
"point to controlling decisions or data that the court
overlooked — matters, in other words, that might reasonably be
expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court." Shrader
v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995).
Generally, the prevailing rule in the Northern District
"recognizes only three possible grounds upon which motions for
reconsideration may be granted; they are (1) an intervening
change in controlling law, (2) the availability of new evidence
not previously available, or (3) the need to correct a clear
error of law or prevent manifest injustice." In re C-TC 9th
Ave. P'ship, 182 B.R. 1, 3 (N.D.N.Y. 1995). Defendants' motion
rests on the third ground, the need to correct a clear error of
law or prevent manifest injustice. Although this Court enjoys
broad discretion when making a determination to reconsider on
this ground, Von Ritter v. Heald, 876 F. Supp. 18, 19 (N.D.N.Y.
1995), it will not disregard the law of the prior case unless
"the Court has a `clear conviction of error' with respect to a
point of law on which its previous decision was predicated."
Fogel v. Chestnutt, 668 F.2d 100, 109 (2d Cir. 1981).
B. Attorneys' Fees Pursuant to Section 1988
The Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act of 1976 provides,
in relevant part:
In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of
sections 1981 . . . [and] 1982 . . . of this title,
. . . the court, in its discretion, may allow the
prevailing party, other than the United States, a
reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs.
42 U.S.C. § 1988(b). The Supreme Court has stated that "[t]he
purpose of § 1988 is to ensure effective access to the judicial
process for persons with civil rights grievances" and that,
therefore, "a prevailing plaintiff should ordinarily recover an
attorney's fee unless special circumstances would render such an
award unjust." Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 429, 103
S.Ct. 1933, 76 L.Ed.2d 40 (1983); see also Blanchard v.
Bergeron, 489 U.S. 87, 93, 109 S.Ct. 939, 103 L.Ed.2d 67
(1989); New York State Nat'l Org. for Women v. Terry,
159 F.3d 86, 97 (1998); DiFilippo v. Morizio, 759 F.2d 231, 234 (2d
In determining whether a civil rights plaintiff is entitled to
attorneys' fees, courts must determine (1) whether the plaintiff
is the prevailing party and (2) whether the fees requested are
reasonable. See Pino v. Locascio, 101 F.3d 235, 237 (2d Cir.
1996) (citing Farrar v. Hobby, 506 U.S. 103, 109, 113 S.Ct.
566, 121 L.Ed.2d 494 (1992); Hensley, 461 U.S. at 433, 103
S.Ct. 1933). Plaintiffs are considered prevailing parties if
they receive actual relief on the merits of their claim. See
Gierlinger v. Gleason, 160 F.3d 858, 880 (2d Cir. 1998) (citing
Farrar, 506 U.S. at 111, 113 S.Ct. 566). This includes
plaintiffs who obtain injunctive relief, who are entitled to
"recover a fee award based on all hours reasonably expended if
the relief obtained justified the expenditure of attorney time."
Hensley, 461 U.S. at 435 n. 11, 103 S.Ct. 1933 (1983). It also
includes plaintiffs who achieve a favorable consent decree or
settlement. See LaRouche v. Kezer, 20 F.3d 68, 71 (1994)
(citing Maher v. Gagne, 448 U.S. 122, 129, 100 S.Ct. 2570, 65
L.Ed.2d 653 (1980)).
In order to determine what fee is reasonable, courts must
calculate the "so-called `lodestar' figure, which is arrived at
by multiplying `the number of hours reasonably expended on the
litigation . . . by a reasonable hourly rate.'"
LeBlanc-Sternberg, 143 F.3d at 763-64 (quoting Hensley, 461
U.S. at 433, 103 S.Ct. 1933). The number of hours expended for
use in the lodestar calculation includes "the number of hours
claimed by plaintiffs' attorneys that are supported by time
records, that are not excessive or ...