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Brennan Ctr. for Justice v. DHS, No. 16-1609, 2019 WL 280954 (D.D.C. Jan. 22, 2019) (Jackson, J.)

Date

Brennan Ctr. for Justice v. DHS, No. 16-1609, 2019 WL 280954 (D.D.C. Jan. 22, 2019) (Jackson, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning number of times government filed motions seeking to have immigration court proceedings closed, or protective orders issued, on national security grounds

Disposition:  Awarding plaintiff $10,765 in fees

  • Attorney Fees, Calculations:  The court relates that "defendant does not contest plaintiff's eligibility or entitlement to attorney's fees."  "Defendant argues that the award plaintiff seeks is unreasonably high."  First, responding to defendant's objection, "[t]he Court finds that the plaintiff's time records are adequately detailed."  "The time records show that plaintiff's counsel spent time emailing with his client, preparing the complaint, reviewing the answer, communicating with defendant's counsel, drafting joint status reports, and reviewing court orders."  "The time entries are sufficiently detailed to permit the government to 'make an informed determination as to the merits of the application,' and to enable the Court to 'make an accurate and equitable award.'"  Second, "[t]he Court finds that [one time entry in question] is related to this case and is properly included in plaintiff's request for attorney's fees."  "And, it finds, contrary to defendant's assertion, that the other isolated mistake does not call into question the overall accuracy of plaintiff's time records."  Third, regarding plaintiff's argument "that it initially intended to challenge the production, . . . and that the document review was necessary to evaluate whether the challenge was warranted," the court finds that "even if this exercise was an important step in assessing litigation strategy, plaintiff would have reviewed the records it received in any event."  "Since the document review served a dual purpose, the Court will reduce the amount requested for time spent reviewing documents. . . ."  Finally, the court finds that "the fees on fees request appears to be excessive in light of the 'short-term merits litigation and the equally straightforward fees litigation in this case."  "Because this Court finds that the amount requested for reviewing documents and for fees-on-fees is excessive, it will reduce plaintiff's request by $4000 and award a total of $10,765 in attorney's fees and costs to plaintiff."
Court Decision Topic(s)
Attorney Fees
District Court opinions
Updated March 22, 2019