Hiken v. DOD, No. 06-cv-02812-YGR, 2013 WL 4496336 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2013) (Gonzalez Rogers, J.)

Date: 
Monday, August 19, 2013
Re: Defendants' request for de novo review of defendants' objection to certain recommendations issued by magistrate judge in response to plaintiffs' motion to alter or amend judgment of the district court with respect to award of attorney fees Disposition: Denying plaintiffs' motion to alter or amend judgment
  • Attorney Fees:  The court declines to find that there was clear legal or factual error in the district court's decision to set the attorney rates used in calculating fees at $200 for all attorneys who worked on the underlying case.  Plaintiffs' original briefings to the district court argued that their rates should be determined on then current rates, not historical rates.  "Plaintiffs presented no alternative amount in requested fees based on historical rates, despite the fact that Plaintiffs now concede that historical hourly rates are typically used."  Plaintiffs now argue that "[e]ven applying historical rates to the lodestar calculation, there is ample evidence in the record showing that all four of plaintiffs' attorneys had, and should have been awarded, significantly higher hourly rates."  However, the court finds that "[p]laintiffs affirmatively chose to argue to [the court] a fee award based solely on current rates."  "While there may have been information in the attorneys' declarations relating to historical rates, Plaintiffs did not provide any analysis for a fee award based thereon."  The court then concludes that it cannot say that there was clear error in awarding fees at $200 per hour.  "Plaintiffs took a risk in seeking only the higher (enhanced) award based on current rates, and not proposing or attempting to justify a reasonable fee award based on historical rates."  On the other hand, "[d]efendants presented [the court] with a proposed $200 per hour fee, providing various arguments in support thereof."  Accordingly, the court denies plaintiffs' motion to alter or amend judgment.
Topic: 
Attorney Fees
District Court
Updated August 6, 2014