The opinion of the court was delivered by: RONALD ELLIS, Magistrate Judge
Plaintiff Claude Irish ("Irish") seeks attorney's fees and costs
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
54(d) for work performed by his counsel, Robert Spergel, in litigating
his claims in these two cases. For the reasons which follow, the Court
awards Irish $54,100.
Irish sued the City of New York, the New York City Police Department,
and Sergeant David Furman, claiming that these defendants violated his
rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the State and City Human Rights laws. He
alleged that he was discriminated against based upon his race, subjected
to a hosfile and abusive working environment, and retaliated against for
having complained about his treatment. Irish's original complaint (98
Civ. 7131) was filed in 1998 with the assistance of a different attorney.
In 2000, Spergel represented Irish in the second case (00 Civ. 9614), and
replaced the attorney in the 1998 case. After completion of substantial
discovery, the parties entered into a stipulation of
settlement as to both cases. Irish signed the agreement on or about
April 19, 2003. See Affirmation of Robert H. Spergel ("Spergel
Aff."), Exh. A. The parties were not able to agree on a reasonable
attorney's fee, and agreed to have the undersigned decide the issue. In
support of Irish's application, he has submitted time records maintained
by Spergel. Spergel Aff., Exh. B.
A. Standard for Awarding Attorney's Fees
A plaintiff may recover attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 if
he is a "prevailing party" in the litigation. Section 1988 provides, in
relevant part, that:
In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision
of section . . . 1983 . . . 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 . . .
The Supreme Court has adopted a common sense approach to attorney's
Where a plaintiff has obtained excellent results,
his attorney should recover a fully compensatory
fee. Normally, this will encompass all hours
reasonably expended on the litigation, and indeed
in some cases of exceptional success an enhanced
award may be justified. In these circumstances the
fee award should not be reduced simply because the
plaintiff failed to prevail on every contention
raised in the lawsuit . . . Litigants in good
faith may raise alternative legal grounds for a
desired outcome, and the court's rejection of or
failure to reach certain grounds is not a
sufficient reason for reducing a fee. The result
is what matters.
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424
(1983) (citation omitted). The district court is given broad discretion
in granting a fee award and assessing a reasonable fee under the
circumstances of the case. Id. at 437; Luciano v. Olsten
Corporation, 109 F.3d 111
, 115 (2d Cir. 1997).
The starting point for the determination of a reasonable fee is the
calculation of the lodestar amount, i.e., "the number of hours reasonably
expended on the litigation multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate."
Hensley, 461 U.S. at 433-34; see Quaratino v.
Tiffany & Co.,
166 F.3d 422, 425 (2d Cir. 1999) (en banc). In
determining the number of hours reasonably expended for purposes of
calculating the lodestar, the district court should exclude excessive,
redundant or otherwise unnecessary hours. Quaratino, 166 F.3d
at 425. The rate requested should be "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. 886, 896 n. 11 (1984); Cruz v. Local Union No. 3. 34 F.3d 1148,
1159 (2d Cir. 1994). The party seeking a fee award bears the burden of
producing evidence demonstrating that the requested rates are in line
with those prevailing in the community. See Wilder v,
Bernstein, 975 F. Supp. 276, 281 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). The court may look
to attorney's fees granted in other cases and rely on its own knowledge
of the market to determine a reasonable rate. Blum, 465 U.S.
at 895. A reasonable attorney's fee is "adequate to attract competent
counsel" without resulting in "windfalls to attorneys." Id. at
897; see also Orchano v. Advanced Recovery, Inc.,
107 F.3d 94, 96 (2d Cir. 1997). Generally, the relevant community for
determining a reasonable hourly rate is the district in which the case
was brought. See Luciano, 109 F.3d at 116; In
re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation, 818 F.2d 226,232 (2d
A party seeking fees bears the burden of supporting its claim of hours
expended by accurate, contemporaneous time records. See
New York State Ass'n for Retarded Children v, Carey,
711 F.2d 1136, 1147-48 (2d Cir. 1983). Time records need not be overly
detailed, but must be sufficiently specific so that the Court may assess
the reasonableness of time expended in relation to the work performed.
See United States Football League v. National Football
League, 887 F.2d 408 (2d Cir. 1989), cert. denied,
493 U.S. 1071 (1990); Dailey v. Societe Generate, 915 F. Supp. 1315,
1328 (S.D.N.Y. 1996), aff'd in relevant
part, 108 F.3d 451 (2d Cir. 1997).
B. The Reasonable Rate in This Case
Irish seeks a total of $66,125 in attorney's fees and costs for
Spergel's work, which is based on a rate of $300 per hour, and which
includes 210.4 hours spent on litigating the merits of the claims, and 10
hours on the instant fee petition. In support of the requested rate, he
cites a number of cases in this district in which counsel were awarded
rates of $300 per hour or more. See, e.g., Baird v.
Bois, Schiller and Flexner, LLP, 219 F. Supp.2d 510, 523 (S.D.N.Y.
2002) (rate of $300 per hour for associate with ten years' experience);
Brenlla v. LaSorsa Buick Pontiac Chevrolet Inc., 2002 WL
1059117, at * 13 (S.D.N.Y. May 28, 2002) (rate of $345 per hour for
partner with twelve years' experience and $270 and $175 for senior and
junior associates, respectively); Gonzalez v. Bratton,
147 F. Supp.2d 180, 211-12 (S.D.N.Y. 2001) (rate range of $250 to $390 for the
most senior attorneys, and $180 to $200 for the most junior attorneys);
Colbert v. Furumuto Realty, Inc., 144 F. Supp.2d 251, 260
(S.D.N.Y. 2001) (rates of $325 and $300 for lead attorneys);
Marisol A. v. Giuliani, 111 F. Supp.2d 381, 386-87 (S.D.N.Y.
2000) (rates of $375 for lead counsel and $300 for counsel with ten
years' experience); Skold v. American Int'l Group, Inc., 1999
WL 405539 at *6-7 (S.D.N.Y. June 18, 1999), aff'd, 205 F.3d ...