The opinion of the court was delivered by: John S. Martin, Jr., District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
The parties in this action reached settlement after the Second Circuit remanded the case for reconsideration of the Court's opinion affirming Connecticut General Life Insurance's ("CGLIC") denial of Plaintiff's disability claim. Plaintiff has now moved for attorneys' fees and costs under ERISA.
An application for attorneys' fees in an ERISA case is governed by 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1), which allows the Court to award fees at its discretion. The Second Circuit has held that "attorney's fees may be awarded to the prevailing party under ERISA in the absence of some particular justification for not doing so." Birmingham v. SoGen-Swiss Int'l Corp. Ret. Plan, 718 F.2d 515, 523 (2d Cir. 1983). Even though Plaintiff prevailed through settlement, as long as Plaintiff "demonstrate[s] a change in the legal relationship" with Defendant, as a result of the lawsuit, Plaintiff is considered a prevailing party for the purposes of attorneys' fees. Koster v. Perales, 903 F.2d 131, 134 (2d Cir. 1990); see Cefali v. Buffalo Brass Co., Inc., 748 F. Supp. 1011, 1017-1018 (W.D.N.Y. 1990).*fn1 As the Supreme Court has stated in Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 103 S.Ct. 1933 (1983), a finding that Plaintiff prevails brings him to the threshold, entitling him to fees, but it remains for the Court to determine what fee is reasonable. Hensley, 461 U.S. at 433, 103 S.Ct. at 1939.
The Second Circuit has adopted the lodestar method for determining reasonable fees. Cefali, 748 F. Supp. at 1018 (W.D.N.Y. 1990)(citing Chambless v. Masters, Mates & Pilots Pension Plan, 885 F.2d 1053, 1057-59 (2d Cir. 1989)). Under this approach, a baseline fee award is determined by the number of hours reasonably expended, multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate for attorneys and paralegals.
Counsel for Plaintiff requests attorneys' fees for 580 hours (prior to the filing of the fee application) calculated at varying hourly rates totaling $153,325. The hourly rates charged by counsel are reasonable for attorneys of their experience. The breakdown of attorney hours and rates are as follows:
Evan Schwartz 155.5 $325 $50,537.50
Richard Quadrino 14.5 325 4,712.50
Eve-Lynn Gisonni 308.75 250 77,187.50
Steven M. Connolly 83.25 225 18,731.25
Michail Z. Hack 2.5 195 487.50
Brian C. Koenig .25 195 48.75
Christine J. Lee 1.00 195 195.00
Barbara Cannova 14.25 100 195.00 (paralegal)
Plaintiff's attorneys request additional fees of $9,956.25 for 39 hours spent preparing the fee application. Defendant makes no objections to the hours spent by ...