A federal judge in New York has cut the amount sought by plaintiff’s attorneys in a collection case in half, ruling that the work expended by the lawyers was “excessive.”
A copy of the ruling in Eades v. Kennedy, P.C. Law Offices cam be accessed by clicking here.
The original complaint alleging the defendant violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was filed more than six years ago, and following protracted litigation, a settlement on the one remaining claim was reached back in August.
The plaintiffs sought $130,850 in attorneys fees and $6,243.26 in expenses on a settlement of $13,500. The $130,850 represented 370 billable hours, according to the plaintiffs.
Looking through their submissions, the judge ruled that “the bulk of the work performed in this matter was duplicative and/or misdirected toward meritless claims,” and reduced the award for attorney’s fees to $56,437.01.
“Plaintiff’s counsel are experienced and well-versed in prosecuting debt collection cases in federal court, yet the overwhelming majority of the 370+ hours of billable time spent by counsel in this matter was directed toward the prosecution and/or appeal of claims that were insufficiently stated or untimely,” wrote Judge David Larimer of the District Court for the Western District of New York in his ruling. “Submissions by counsel also testify to some duplication of effort by plaintiff’s two law firms, including joint attendance at multiple conferences, parallel review of discovery, and attendance by multiple attorneys at court-ordered mediation, all of which disproportionately increased the number of attorney hours and costs requested herein.”