United States District Court, N.D. New York
& ZELMAN, LLC Attorneys for Plaintiff.
LAW, PLLC DAVID G. PELTAN, ESQ. Attorneys for Defendant.
COUNSEL: YITZCHAK ZELMAN, ESQ. DAVID G. PELTAN, ESQ.
DECISION AND ORDER
D'AGOSTINO, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
September 1, 2016, Sharon Stevens ("Plaintiff")
commenced this action pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.
("FDCPA") against EOS CCA ("Defendant").
See Dkt. No. 1. On December 14, 2016, Plaintiff
accepted an offer of partial judgment in the amount of $1,
501.00 for damages pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 68 as a result of
Defendant's alleged violations of the FDCPA. See
Dkt. No. 13. The order reserved on the issue of
Plaintiff's attorney's fees and costs where
"[s]aid fees and costs are to be in an amount as agreed
by counsel for the parties, or if they are unable to agree,
as determined by the Court, upon Motion." See
id at 5.
attorney Yitzchak Zelman ("Zelman") and Defendant
did not reach an agreement on attorney's fees. As a
result, on January 17, 2017 Mr. Zelman filed this pending
motion for twenty-three hours of attorney's fees at
$250.00 per hour for a total of $5, 750.00 in attorney's
fees along with $465.00 in costs and expenses, for a total of
$6, 215.00 in fees and costs. See Dkt. No. 16-1 at
9. On February 6, 2017, Defendant filed a response in
opposition to Mr. Zelman's motion. See Dkt. No.
19. On February 9, 2017, Mr. Zelman filed his reply to
Defendant's motion. See Dkt. No. 20.
to the FDCPA, a prevailing plaintiff may recover "the
costs of the action, together with a reasonable
attorney's fee as determined by the court." 15
U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3). Having found authority for an
award of attorney's fees to Plaintiff, the Court must now
determine whether Plaintiff's fee request is reasonable.
a litigant qualifies as one eligible for attorney's fees
under the FDCPA, the district court has the discretion to
adjust the amount of fees for various portions of the
litigation, guided by reason and the statutory
criteria." Kapoor v. Rosenthal, 269 F.Supp.2d
408, 412 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (citing 15 U.S.C. §
1692k(a)(3)). "Both [the Second Circuit] and the Supreme
Court have held that the lodestar-the product of a reasonable
hourly rate and the reasonable number of hours required by
the case-creates a 'presumptively reasonable
fee.'" Millea v. Metro-N. R. Co., 658 F.3d
154, 166 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting Arbor Hill Concerned
Citizens Neighborhood Assoc. v. Cnty. of Albany, 522
F.3d 182, 183 (2d Cir. 2008)) (other citation omitted);
see also Bergerson v. N.Y. State Office of Mental Health,
Cent. N.Y. Psychiatric Ctr., 652 F.3d 277, 289 (2d Cir.
2011) (stating "[a]ttorneys' fees are awarded by
determining a presumptively reasonable fee, reached by
multiplying a reasonable hourly rate by the number of
reasonably expended hours") (citing Simmons v. N.Y.
City Transit Auth., 575 F.3d 170, 174 (2d Cir. 2009)).
"The lodestar figure should be in line with the rates
prevailing in the community for similar services by attorneys
of comparable skill, experience, and reputation."
Kapoor, 269 F.Supp.2d at 412 (citing Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983); Luciano v.
Olsten Corp., 109 F.3d 111, 115 (2d Cir. 1997)).
presumptively reasonable fee boils down to 'what a
reasonable, paying client would be willing to pay, '
given that such a party wishes 'to spend the minimum
necessary to litigate the case effectively.'"
Simmons, 575 F.3d at 174. In the Second Circuit,
"'any attorney . . . who applies for court-ordered
compensation in this Circuit . . . must document the
application with contemporaneous time records . . .
specify[ing], for each attorney, the date, the hours
expended, and the nature of the work done.'"
Marion S. Mishkin Law Office v. Lopalo, 767 F.3d
144, 148 (2d Cir. 2014) (quoting N.Y. State Ass'n for
Retarded Children, Inc. v. Carey, 711 F.2d 1136, 1148
(2d Cir. 1983)).
determining a reasonable fee, the district court 'should
exclude . . . hours that were not reasonably expended, '
including 'hours that are excessive, redundant, or
otherwise unnecessary.'" Genito v. Forster &
Garbus LLP, No. 6:15-CV-00954, 2016 WL 3748184, *2
(N.D.N.Y. July 11, 2016) (quoting Hensley, 461 U.S.
at 434). "The relevant inquiry for the Court 'is not
whether hindsight vindicates an attorney's time
expenditures, but whether, at the time the work was
performed, a reasonable attorney would have engaged in
similar time expenditures.'" Id. (quoting
Grant v. Martinez, 973 F.2d 96, 99 (2d Cir. 1992)).
"In excluding hours that were not reasonably expended,
'the court has discretion simply to deduct a reasonable
percentage of the number of hours claimed 'as a practical
means of trimming fat from a fee application.'"
Id. (quoting Kirsch v. Fleet St., Ltd., 148
F.3d 149, 173 (2d Cir. 1998)) (other quotation omitted).
determining what a reasonable, paying client would be willing
to pay, the Court considers the following factors:
(1) the time and labor required; (2) the novelty and
difficulty of the questions; (3) the level of skill required
to perform the legal service properly; (4) the preclusion of
employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the case; (5)
the attorney's customary hourly rate; (6) whether the fee
is fixed or contingent; (7) the time limitations imposed by
the client or the circumstances; (8) the amount involved in
the case and the results obtained; (9) the experience,
reputation, and ability of the attorneys; (10) the
'undesirability' of the case; (11) the nature and
length of the professional relationship with the client; and
(12) awards in similar cases.
Arbor Hill, 522 F.3d at 186 n.3 (citing Johnson
v. Ga. Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-19 (5th
"[p]laintiffs cannot recover for time spent by attorneys
completing administrative tasks . . . 'A court may make
[across-the-board percentage] reductions when attorneys
engage in less skilled work, like filing and other
administrative tasks [such as] . . . faxing and mailing
documents, making copies, filing, scanning, preparing
documents for electronic filing, electronic file management,
binding documents, and Bates stamping.'" Ryan v.
Allied Interstate, Inc., 882 F.Supp.2d 628, 636