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Ware v. Little Rock School District

August 3, 2007

KAREN WARE PLAINTIFF
v.
LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James M. Moody United States District Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff has filed applications for attorney's fees and costs (Docket # 47 and 51) to which Defendant has responded. After consideration of the application and briefs, the Court will award attorney's fees and costs in the amount of $29,830.00.

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against the Defendant alleging retaliation for filing a previous discrimination lawsuit, in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §1981 and the Arkansas Civil Rights Act. Plaintiff's promotion claims were dismissed on motion for summary judgment. The claim for retaliation was submitted to the Court. The Court found in favor of Plaintiff and awarded $8,148.28 in back pay and $2,000.00 for mental anguish.

Plaintiff asks for attorney's fees of $37,340.00 and costs of $230.00. The billing records that accompany Plaintiff's application reflect total time of 186.70 hours spent on the case by Mr. Mark Burnette at an hourly rate of $200.00.

Defendant objects to the Plaintiff's fee request arguing that the hourly rate is excessive; the fees should be reduced to reflect the partial nature of her success at trial; and the lack of complexity of the issues.

In discussing the reasonableness of an attorney's fee award, the United States Supreme Court has stated that a reasonable attorney's fee is properly calculated by multiplying the number of hours "reasonable expended" on the litigation by a reasonable hourly rate, thereby arriving at the "lodestar". Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). In making the lodestar determination, the Court also considered the twelve factors approved in Ladies Center, Nebraska, Inc. v. Thone, 645 F.2d 645 (8th Cir. 1981)(adopting guidelines set forth in Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714 (5th Cir. 1974)):

(1) time and labor required;

(2) novelty and difficulty of the questions;

(3) skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;

(4) preclusion of other employment, due to acceptance of case;

(5) the customary fee;

(6) whether the fee is fixed or contingent;

(7) time limitations imposed by the client or the ...


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