United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable John J. Tuchi, United States District Judge.
issue are Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney Fees and
Related Non-Taxable Expenses (Doc. 248); her Supplemental
Motion for Attorney Fees (Doc. 274); and her Addendum to
Supplemental Fee Application (Doc. 280). Defendant filed
Responses (Docs. 259, 277, 281) in opposition to each of the
above, respectively, and Plaintiff filed Replies (Docs. 266,
279, 282) in support of each, respectively. Both parties
filed multiple memoranda, declarations and other attachments
in support of their motion practice, which the Court has read
and considered thoroughly. The Court finds the matter
appropriate for resolution without oral argument.
See LRCiv 7.2(f). It grants in part and denies in
part Plaintiff's Motion and Supplemental Motion as set
Relevant Procedural History
First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleged five causes of
action: 1) violation of the Equal Pay Act
(“EPA”), 29 U.S.C. § 215 et seq., ;
2) retaliation under the EPA; 3) Sex discrimination in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e (“Title VII
claim”); 4) Age discrimination in violation of 29
U.S.C. § 623 (“ADEA claim”); and 5)
violation of the Arizona Wage Act, A.R.S. § 23-353
(“AWA claim”). The Court granted Defendant
summary judgment on Plaintiff's retaliation and ADEA
claims. (Doc. 108.) After a trial from March 21 to 31, 2017,
a jury found that Defendant violated Title VII by
discriminating against Plaintiff, its former employee, on the
basis of sex and awarded Plaintiff a total of $528, 000 in
damages at law. (Doc. 204.) The jury found for Defendant on
Plaintiff's Equal Pay Act and Arizona Wage Act claims.
Court then held a three-day bench trial between May 4 and 11,
2017, after which the Court entered an Order setting forth
its findings of fact and conclusions as to Plaintiff's
equitable damages for Defendant's violation of Title VII.
(Doc. 243, Damages Order.) The Court also limited the $528,
000 jury award of compensatory and punitive damages to $300,
000, as provided by 42 U.S.C. § 1982a(b)(3). In sum, the
Court determined that Plaintiff was entitled to $300, 000 in
compensatory and punitive damages and $206, 928.06 in
filed the instant motions seeking a total of $1, 963, 319.25
in attorneys' fees and related non-taxable expenses,
comprised of $1, 860, 836.75 (Doc. 250, Application), $92,
019.50 (Doc. 274, Supplement), and $10, 463.00 (Doc. 280,
Law and Analysis
Plaintiff prevailed on her Title VII sex discrimination
claim, Defendant does not dispute that she is entitled to an
award of reasonable attorneys' fees. The Court will spare
recitation of the case law applicable to Plaintiff's
eligibility for the award and move directly to determining
what the reasonable fees are.
Court must follow a multi-step process to determine a
reasonable amount of attorneys' fees. The Court begins by
applying the so-called “lodestar formula” to
determine a baseline for reasonable fees through the
mechanics described below. The Court then evaluates that
lodestar product for overall reasonableness in light of the
results obtained, all pursuant to Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 103 S.Ct. 1933, 1939 (1983).
most useful starting point for determining the amount of a
reasonable fee is the number of hours reasonably expended on
the litigation multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate.”
Hensley, 103 S.Ct. at 1939; see also McCown v.
City of Fontana, 565 F.3d 1097, 1102 (9th Cir. 2009).
Defendant does not challenge the hourly rates charged for any
of the attorneys involved in the representation of Plaintiff,
and the Court finds in any event that such rates are
appropriate. Defendant does challenge the reasonableness of
the hours expended in the representation overall and
regarding several specific tasks.
Court includes in what the Supreme Court in Hensley
called the “initial fee calculation” only those
hours that were “reasonably expended.” 103 S.Ct.
at 1139. “In determining the appropriate number of
hours to be included in a lodestar calculation, the district
court should exclude hours ‘that are excessive,
redundant, or otherwise unnecessary.'” McCown
v. City of Fontana, 565 F.3d 1097, 1102 (9th Cir.
2009)(citing Hensley); Jankey v. Poop Deck,
537 F.3d 1122, 1132 (9th Cir. 2008)(same).
the number of hours that were reasonable may be done in
several ways, including via task-based analysis or an
across-the-board formula. “The court is not required to
set forth an hour-by-hour analysis of the fee request.”
Schwartz v. Secretary of Health & Human
Services, 73 F.3d 895, 906 (9th Cir. 1995)(internal
citations and quotations omitted). This is particularly true
when the court is faced with a massive fee
application.“A request for attorney's fees
should not result in a second major litigation.”
Hensley, 103 S.Ct. at 1941. The Court here addresses
some billing issues by specific task and some across the
Court agrees with Defendant that the fees Plaintiff seeks for
the iterations of attorney fee petitions and supporting
briefing bear particularized scrutiny. While “fees on
fees” are allowable as part of a prevailing party's
award, the time expended to craft and support the petition
and briefs must itself be reasonable, and here it was not.
Plaintiff's counsel spent over 425 hours-the equivalent
of ten and a half standard work weeks-on the original fee
petition, and another approximately twenty hours on its
addendum. All of this time resulted in requested
attorney/paraprofessional fees of approximately $183, 000. In
comparison to the scope of the matter and what it took
Plaintiff's counsel to litigate it in its entirety, this
is grossly excessive. The Court will allow one standard week
of attorney time, at Mr. Katz's agreed rate in this case
of $510.00 per hour, and 20 hours of paraprofessional time ...