United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
KUO United States Magistrate Judge.
Luz Tarazona (“Plaintiff”) brought this action
under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29
U.S.C. §§ 206, 207, 216(b), the New York Labor Law
(“NYLL”) §§ 650 et seq. and 12
N.Y.C.R.R. §§ 142-2.2, 142-2.4 against Defendants
Rotana Cafe & Restaurant Inc. d/b/a After 8 Café
Lounge (“After 8”) and Atef Elakhras
the Court is Plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees.
(See First Motion for Attorney Fees, the
“Motion, ” Dkt. 26.) For the reasons discussed
below, the Court grants the Motion and awards Plaintiff $34,
365.00 in attorneys' fees and $1, 915.00 in costs, for a
total of $36, 280.00.
Court presumes familiarity with the underlying facts in this
case. After a bench trial, the Court held Defendants liable
on Plaintiff's unpaid minimum wage, spread of hours, and
wage notice claims, awarding damages and post-judgment
interest. (See Memorandum and Opinion, Dkt. 24.) The
Court also granted Plaintiff leave to seek attorneys'
fees and costs. Defendants have not opposed the Motion.
Court is authorized to award reasonable attorneys' fees
pursuant to both the FLSA and NYLL. See 29 U.S.C.
§ 216(b); N.Y. Lab. Law § 198(1-a).
attorneys' fees and costs awarded to Plaintiff by the
Court must be “reasonable.” See Riley v. City
of New York, No. 10-CV-2513 (MKB), 2015 WL 9592518, at
*1 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 31, 2015). “[T]he 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.R. Co.,
658 F.3d 154, 166 (2d Cir. 2011); see also Scharff v.
Cty. of Nassau, No. 10-CV-4208 (DRH)(GRB), 2016 WL
3166848, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. May 20, 2016), R&R
adopted, 2016 WL 3172798 (E.D.N.Y. June 6, 2016);
Riley, 2015 WL 9592518, at *1. To calculate the
lodestar, the Court determines a reasonable hourly rate and a
reasonable number of hours. “District courts have broad
discretion to determine both the reasonable number of
compensable hours and the reasonable hourly rate.”
Brady v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 455 F.Supp.2d 157,
203 (E.D.N.Y. 2006). The party applying for fees must provide
contemporaneous time sheets to document counsel's work,
and must support the hourly rates it claims with, for
example, evidence of counsel's expertise and prevailing
market rates. See Riley, 2015 WL 9592518, at *1.
Plaintiff has supplied counsel's professional
biographical details (Declaration of William Cafaro,
“Cafaro Decl., ” Dkt. 26), evidence of prevailing
market rates (Memorandum of Law, Dkt. 26-1), attorney time
sheets (Ex. 2, Dkt. 26-3), and supporting documentation of
costs (Ex. 3, Dkt. 26-4; Ex. 4, Dkt. 26-5).
determine a reasonable hourly rate, the district court
considers “rates prevailing in the community for
similar services by lawyers of reasonably comparable skill,
expertise and reputation.” Cruz v. Local Union No.
3 of IBEW, 34 F.3d 1148, 1159 (2d Cir. 1994). The
“community” is the district in which the
reviewing court sits. Scharff, 2016 WL 3166848, at
*4 (internal quotations and brackets omitted). “The
reasonable hourly rate is the rate a paying client would be
willing to pay…bear[ing] in mind that a reasonable,
paying client wishes to spend the minimum necessary to
litigate the case effectively.” Arbor Hill
Concerned Citizens Neighborhood Ass'n v. Cty. of
Albany, 522 F.3d 182, 190 (2d Cir. 2008). The district
court must also “bear in mind all of the
case-specific variables that [the Second Circuit] and other
courts have identified as relevant to the reasonableness of
attorneys' fees in setting a reasonable hourly
rate.” Id. at 190 (emphasis in the original).
Those factors include the attorneys' experience and
expertise and the overall success achieved in the case.
See Brady, 455 F.Supp.2d at 204; Chen v. Cty. of
Suffolk, 927 F.Supp.2d 58, 71 (E.D.N.Y. 2013). The fee
applicant has the burden of justifying the requested rate as
reasonable. See Scharff, 2016 WL 3166848, at *4. In
recent years, fees have been awarded in the Eastern District
of New York at an hourly rate of $300 to $400 for partners
and $200 to $300 for senior associates in FLSA cases. See
Marshall v. Deutsche Post DHL, No. 13-CV-1471 (RJD)(JO),
2015 WL 5560541, at *9 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 21, 2015) (collecting
cases). The rates for paralegals in the Eastern District
range from $70 to $80 an hour. Id.
was represented in this action by attorneys William Cafaro
and Amit Kumar, who were assisted by paralegals Nicholas
Duran and Odaris Palacios.
is the principal of the Law Offices of William Cafaro, a
boutique law firm located in New York, New York. (Cafaro
Decl. ¶¶ 1, 3.) He was admitted to practice in New
York in 1981 and served as an Assistant District Attorney
prior to establishing his private practice in 1986.
(Id. ¶¶ 4-5.) His firm has filed over 400
FLSA and NYLL suits since 2009. (Id. ¶ 6.)
Cafaro belongs to the National Employment Lawyers Association
and speaks fluent Spanish, facilitating his representation of
Spanish-speaking clients. (Id. ¶ 7.) He
requests an hourly rate of $400, which has been previously
approved in both the Eastern and Southern Districts of New
York. See, ...