A District Court judge in New York has reduced the amount of attorney’s fees to be paid by the defendant in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case by 80% of what the plaintiff’s attorney had requested, lowering both the hourly rate and the number of hours worked, while also eliminating the fee multiplier that the attorney had sought.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Kohli v. Independent Recovery Resources can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff had previously been awarded $50,000 in damages by Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann of the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and her attorney submitted a motion to be awarded $210,000 in attorney’s fees. This included an hourly wage request of $475, along with 222 hours spent on the case, plus a multiplier of 100%.
Ultimately, Judge Mann lowered the hourly rate for the plaintiff’s attorney to $350 and reduced the number of hours worked by 40%, to 133, and then eliminated the multiplier altogether.
Judge Mann arrived at the $350 hourly rate by looking at other cases handled within the Second Circuit, where the Eastern District of New York sits, and determined that the $475 being sought by the plaintiff’s attorney was “grossly in excess of the rates typically awarded in this District to attorneys with comparable experience in FDCPA cases.” Noting that the attorney in this case had never been awarded that rate in this District and that the case involved “no novel legal issues” that would justify awarding more than typically done in these types of cases, Judge Mann lowered the hourly rate to $350.
Determining that the number of hours requested by the attorney was “excessive” and featured charges that were “vague, unnecessary, and/or improperly billed,” Judge Mann also reduced the number of hours by 40%.