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Gollomp v. Spitzer

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


January 14, 2009

BERNARD P. GOLLOMP, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ELIOT SPITZER, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK; STATE OF NEW YORK; UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK; BRUCE MULDOON, ESQ., INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS LAW CLERK; TOWN OF ORANGETOWN; THOM KLEINER, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SUPERVISOR OF THE TOWN OF ORANGETOWN; ERIC DUBBS; MICHELE DUBBS; AND SEYMOUR DUBBS, ESQ., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the Court are the State Defendants' proposed order for reimbursement of costs and attorney's fees, which they filed pursuant to this Court's instructions, and Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of this Court's February 5, 2007 Memorandum-Decision and Order pursuant to Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.*fn1

II. BACKGROUND

In its February 5, 2007 Memorandum-Decision and Order, the Court, among other things, granted the State Defendants' motion to dismiss and their motion for sanctions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927. See Dkt. No. 78 at 19-20. The Court also instructed the State Defendants to "file a proposed order for reimbursement of the costs and attorney's fees that they incurred with respect to the filing of their motion to dismiss and their motion for sanctions pursuant to § 1927." See id. at 20. The State Defendants submitted the requested information on February 2, 2007.*fn2

See Dkt. No. 77. Although the Court instructed Plaintiff to file any papers in opposition to the State Defendants' proposed order by February 9, 2007, see Dkt. No. 78 at 20, he did not do so. However, Plaintiff did file a motion for reconsideration of all aspects of the Court's February 5, 2007 Memorandum-Decision and Order on February 15, 2007, see Dkt. No. 83, and subsequently filed a Notice of Appeal on February 23, 2007, see Dkt. No. 89.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Reimbursement of attorney's fees and costs as a sanction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927

"[T]he court determines reasonable attorney's fees by using the lodestar method, which involves multiplying the number of hours that the [party's] attorney spends on the matter by a reasonable hourly rate." Paramount Pictures Corp. v. Hopkins, No. 5:07-CV-593, 2008 WL 314541, *4 (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 4, 2008) (citation omitted). In Hopkins, this Court recently reiterated that, based upon the relevant factors for determining such an award, "the reasonable hourly rates in this District, i.e., what a reasonable, paying client would be willing to pay, were $210 per hour for an experienced attorney, $150 per hour for an attorney with four or more years experience, $120 per hour for an attorney with less than four years experience, and $80 per hour for paralegals." Id. at 5 (citation omitted).

The State Defendants submitted their counsel's contemporaneous time records, which set forth the amount of time that she expended and a description of the work she performed pertaining to their motion to dismiss and their motion for sanctions. See Dkt. No. 77.*fn3 They also submitted an invoice showing that they incurred costs in the amount of $130.20, for the "court reporter fee for a stenographic transcript of the November 8, 2006 telephone court conference before Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece . . . ." See Declaration of Morgan A. Costello dated February 2, 2007 ("Costello Decl."), at ¶ 10 & Exhibit "B" attached thereto.*fn4

The contemporaneous time records of counsel for the State Defendants indicate that she expended 127.6 hours on the relevant matters. See id. at ¶ 8 & Exhibit "A" attached thereto. The Court has reviewed these records and finds that the hours that counsel expended are reasonable. Counsel also indicates that she has "nine and a half years of litigation experience in various federal and state courts." See id. at ¶ 6. Therefore, the Court finds that counsel is an experienced attorney, for whom a reasonable hourly rate is $210. Accordingly, the Court directs Plaintiff's counsel to reimburse the State Defendants in the amount of $26,796.00 for reasonable attorney's fees and $130.20 for costs pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927.*fn5

B. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration

Plaintiff moves for reconsideration pursuant to Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.*fn6 In this district, a court should only grant a motion for reconsideration in three limited circumstances: "(1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; or (3) a need to correct clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice." Taormina v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., No. 1:04-CV-1508, 2006 WL 3717338, *1 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 14, 2006) (citing New York ex rel. Vacco v. RAC Holding, Inc., 135 F. Supp. 2d 359, 362 (N.D.N.Y. 2001)). Courts strictly apply this standard and generally deny motions for reconsideration "unless the moving party presents 'controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked. . . .'" Id. (quoting Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995)). Finally, if a party seeks reconsideration based on an error of law, "the court has broad discretion and should not disregard the law of the case unless it has a 'clear conviction of error.'" Id. (quoting RAC Holding, Inc., 135 F. Supp. 2d at 362).

Plaintiff has not presented an intervening change in controlling law or any new evidence, therefore, the Court assumes that Plaintiff seeks reconsideration on the ground that there is "a need to correct clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice." Id.

Having reviewed Plaintiff's counsel's 179-paragraph Affidavit and its attachments, as well as Plaintiff's memorandum of law, the Court concludes that there is nothing in those documents to even suggest that the Court's decision rested on any error of law, let alone a clear error of law. Rather, it appears that Plaintiff is attempting to relitigate the merits of his claim based upon many of the same arguments that he previously made. Therefore, the Court denies Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration.

IV. CONCLUSION

After reviewing the entire file in this case, the parties' submissions and the applicable law, and for the reasons stated herein, the Court hereby

ORDERS that Plaintiff's counsel shall reimburse the State Defendants in the amount of $26,796.00 for reasonable attorney's fees and $130.20 for costs pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927; and the Court further

ORDERS that Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration is DENIED; and the Court further ORDERS that the Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment in Defendants' favor and close this case in accordance with this Court's February 5, 2007 Memorandum-Decision and Order and this Memorandum-Decision and Order.*fn7

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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