United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff Mitchell Miraglia's Motion
to Fix Attorney's Fees, Costs, and Expenses (Rec. Doc.
101). The Board of Directors of the Louisiana State
Museum and Robert Wheat in his official capacity as chief
executive of the Louisiana State Museum has filed a
memorandum in opposition (Rec. Doc. 107). The motion,
submitted for consideration on November 1, 2017, is before
the Court on the briefs without oral argument.
case was tried to the bench on September 11, 2017. On
September 15, 2017, the Court entered judgment in favor of
Plaintiff awarding Plaintiff general damages of $500.00 under
the ADA. (Rec. Doc. 100). The Court found that the remedy of
injunctive relief was moot under the principles of
Buckhannon Board & Care Home, Inc. v. West Virginia
Department of Health & Human Resources, 532 U.S. 598
(2001). (Rec. Doc. 99 at 6).
Court in its discretion may allow the prevailing party a
reasonable attorney's fee, including litigation expenses,
and costs. 42 U.S.C. § 12205. It is undisputed that
Plaintiff was a prevailing party in this case. The Court is
persuaded that an award of fees, expenses, and costs is
lodestar method is appropriate for calculating a reasonable
fee award. The lodestar method is based on the number of
hours worked multiplied by the prevailing hourly rate.
See Perdue v. Kenny A., 559 U.S. 542, 546 (2010).
Enhancements or reductions as appropriate can then be made.
Court finds the requested hourly rates to be reasonable: $275
for lead attorney Andrew Bizer; $150 for attorney Garret
DeReus; $125 for attorney Amanda Klevorn; $100 for attorney
James Daniel; $75 for a paralegal.
Court is persuaded that Plaintiff's attorneys have
provided adequate support of the legitimate hours that they
expended on this case. Given the significant deletions and
reductions that Plaintiff have documented, it is clear to the
Court that counsel followed the Court's admonishments in
the Mark case. The hours claimed are commensurate
with the fact that this case was litigated for two years and
then tried on liability and damages.
Court finds the requested fees totaling $38, 050.25 to be the
reasonable fee award under a straight lodestar calculation.
The Court reduces that award by $8, 000 because time was
expended on non-starter issues such as the possibility of
raising sidewalks over which Defendant had no control and the
possibility of altering store fronts on the historical
building, which the ADA did not require. The Court will award
fees totaling $30, 050.25.
takes the position that the only fees and costs that
Plaintiff can recover are those directly related to
Plaintiff's compensatory damage award. According to
Defendant, that award was based solely on Plaintiff's own
testimony which cost the Plaintiff nothing. This contention
lacks merit. Before any award of damages became an issue,
Plaintiff had to establish liability stemming from a
violation of the ADA. The fees, costs, and expenses that
Defendant objects to were necessary for establishing
urges the Court to treat the $500.00 award in damages as a
nominal damage award and to reduce any award of fees and
costs proportionally. This contention lacks merit. The
primary objective of this lawsuit was not monetary relief so
the small quantum of the damage award does not detract from
the success on the merits that Plaintiff obtained. Defendant
never conceded liability and Plaintiff was forced to try the
issue. That the only remedy left available to Plaintiff was a
damage award does not affect his entitlement to all fees and
costs associated with satisfying his burden of
requests that costs be taxed at $4, 975.46, after making
numerous reductions. Defendant suggests that Plaintiff should
not be reimbursed for experts who were not called to testify
at trial. The Court agrees with Plaintiffs contention that he
should not be penalized for entering into stipulations that
obviated the need to call the experts live at trial (or to
introduce their depositions into evidence). The Court will
award the requested $4, 975.46 in costs without reduction.
and for the foregoing reasons;
IS ORDERED that the Motion to Fix
Attorney's Fees, Costs, and Expenses (Rec. Doc.
101) filed by Plaintiff is GRANTED
as follows: Plaintiff is awarded attorney's fees ...