United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court is counsel for Plaintiff Viet Anh Vo's
“Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs” (Rec.
Doc. 111) and Reply (Rec. Doc. 118), Defendants, Diane
Broussard, Vermilion Parish Clerk of Court and Michael
Thibodeaux, Iberia Parish Clerk of Courts' Memorandum in
Opposition (Rec. Doc. 112), Louis J. Perret, Lafayette Parish
Clerk of Court's Memorandum in Opposition (Rec. Doc.
113), and Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health,
Rebekah Gee, and the Louisiana State Registrar, Devin
George's Memorandum in Opposition (Rec. Doc. 114).
IS ORDERED that the Motion for Attorney's Fees
and Costs is Granted in part and Denied in
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Anh Vo (“Plaintiff”) filed suit against Rebekah
Gee as Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health,
Diane Broussard as Vermilion Parish Clerk of Court, Michael
Thibodeaux, as Iberia Parish Clerk of Court, Louis J. Perret
as Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court, and Devin George as the
Louisiana State Registrar (collectively herein referred to as
“Defendants”), in October 2016. (Rec. Doc. 1).
Plaintiff asserted that the Louisiana statute requiring
United States citizens to provide a certified birth
certificate for a marriage and not permitting a waiver of the
requirement for naturalized United States citizens born
outside of the United States or one of its territories was
unconstitutional. (Rec. Doc. 1 at 2). After oral argument
(Rec. Doc. 76), the Court granted a preliminary injunction
(Rec. Doc. 77), which was converted into a permanent
injunction and declaratory judgment on August 8, 2017 (Rec.
files the instant motion pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988
and Federal Rules for the Eastern District of Louisiana Local
Rules 54.2 and 54.3, as the “prevailing party”
for an award of attorney's fees and costs. (Rec. Doc.
111). Plaintiff requests this Court to order Defendants to
pay $212, 580.00 in attorneys' fees and $11, 267.65 in
Defendants' Responses in Opposition object to: 1) the
reasonableness of Plaintiff's requested attorney's
fees and costs, 2) the reasonableness of the number of
attorneys and support staff, 3) the amount hours and fees
associated with locating a potential plaintiff, 4) plaintiff
counsel's lack of exercise billing judgment, and 5)
defendants Diane Broussard as Vermilion Parish Clerk of
Court, Michael Thibodeaux, as Iberia Parish Clerk of Court,
and Louis J. Perret as Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court
(collectively herein referred to as “Clerk
Defendants”) contend that the State is solely
responsible for paying the prevailing party's
attorney's fees and costs. They argue that as the Clerk
Defendants they were acting in their official capacity on
behalf of the State in enforcing the challenged Louisiana
42 of the United States Code, Section 1988 provides the Court
with discretion to award attorney's fees and costs to the
prevailing party in Civil Rights' litigation. 42 U.S.C.
§ 1988 (2018). On August 8, 2017, this Court granted
Plaintiff's Motions for Partial Summary Judgment,
Declaratory Judgment, and Permanent Injunction (Rec. Doc.
96). As final Judgment was entered in favor of Plaintiff
(Rec. Doc. 97), it is clear that Plaintiff is the prevailing
party in this litigation. However, the reasonableness of the
submitted fees and costs remains to be determined.
of a reasonable attorney's fee involves calculating the
lodestar, which is a two-step process. Louisiana Power &
Light Co. v. Kellstrom, 50 F.3d 319, 324 (5th Cir.
1995). In the first step, this Court is to determine the
reasonable number of hours expended on the litigation and the
reasonable hourly rates for the participating attorneys.
Id. Next, this Court is to multiply the determined
hours by the determined rate. Id. This calculation
comprises the lodestar. Id. The lodestar is then
either accepted or adjusted according to the twelve factors
delineated in Johnson v. Georgia Highway Exp., which
(1) the time and labor involved; (2) the novelty and
difficulty of the questions involved; (3) the skill requisite
to perform the legal services properly; (4) the preclusion of
other employment by the attorney due to this case; (5) the
customary fee; (6) whether the fee is fixed or contingent;
(7) time limitations; (8) the amount involved and results
obtained; (9) the experience, reputation. And ability of
counsel; (10) the undesirability of the case; (11) the nature
and length of the proceedings; and (12) awards in similar
488 F.2d 714, 717-19.