The opinion of the court was delivered by: Decker, District Judge.
This matter comes before the court at the end of a long road,
extending back to 1952, on counter-plaintiffs' Application for
Assessment of Attorneys' Fees.*fn1 To put this petition in
perspective, some background information on this litigation is
Day-Glo Color Corporation*fn3 is engaged in the manufacture and
sale of daylight flourescent materials. In October, 1948, after
15 years of preparatory work, Day-Glo began its United States
licensing program. Since January, 1949, Harry P. Locklin and
Elmer J. Brant, general partners doing business as Radiant Color
Company, have competed with Day-Glo in the sale of daylight
In June, 1952, Day-Glo instituted an action for patent
infringement in this
court against 16 of Radiant's customers. Although Radiant
originally was not named as a defendant, the Company eventually
was allowed to intervene and to file an antitrust counterclaim
alleging that Day-Glo had violated sections one and two of the
Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, 2, and section three of the Clayton
Act, 15 U.S.C. § 14. See Switzer Bros., Inc. v. Locklin,
207 F.2d 483 (7th Cir. 1953), cert. denied, 347 U.S. 912, 74 S.Ct. 477, 98
L.Ed. 1069 (1954). Day-Glo's infringement action was subsequently
dismissed for failure to join indispensable parties. Switzer
Bros., Inc. v. Chicago Cardboard Co., 252 F.2d 407 (7th Cir.
1958). The case proceeded to trial upon Radiant's amended
counterclaim against Day-Glo and a counterclaim Day-Glo had filed
against Radiant, and culminated in a judgment against Day-Glo for
violation of the antitrust laws and a dismissal of the latter's
counterclaim for lack of evidence. Switzer Bros., Inc. v.
Locklin, 297 F.2d 39 (7th Cir. 1961), cert. denied, 369 U.S. 851,
82 S.Ct. 934, 8 L.Ed.2d 9 (1962).
Judgment was entered pursuant to the court's findings and the
matter was referred to a special master to ascertain and report
on the damages suffered and costs expended by Radiant, plus
Extensive discovery and lengthy hearings*fn4 were had before the
master, and, six years after the referral, he reported that
Radiant had been injured in the amount of $356,792.91.*fn5 Pursuant
to section 4 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 15, this figure was
trebled and judgment was entered for $1,145,378.73, including
$75,000 in attorneys' fees. Locklin v. Day-Glo Color Corp., CCH
1969 Tr. Cas. ¶ 72,705, at 86,524, (N.D.Ill. 1969), aff'd,
429 F.2d 873 (7th Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 1020, 91 S.Ct.
582, 27 L.Ed.2d 632 (1971).
II. The Present Application
In this application, Radiant petitions for a further allowance
of attorneys' fees for services rendered before the master on the
accounting for damages, in this court on objections to the
master's report, and before the Seventh Circuit on appeal and the
Supreme Court on petition for a writ of certiorari. Several
aspects of the present request are worthy of note before
examining the merits of the petition.
First, the establishment of Day-Glo's antitrust liability and
the protection of that judgment through the denial of certiorari
in 1962, entailed 2,004.33 hours of endeavor on the part of
Radiant's counsel, for which the $75,000 fee previously mentioned
was awarded. By contrast, the instant application requests, inter
alia, $315,888.50 for 3,827.43 hours spent proving up the
damages. Second, since February 4, 1971, when the judgment was
paid in full, Radiant's lawyers have spent an additional 171
hours preparing and presenting their statement for fees.*fn6 For
these efforts alone, Radiant seeks an additional $18,707.50.
Thus, the total claim before the court amounts to $338,446,*fn7
which, when added to the $75,000 fee previously granted, would
produce an aggregate of $413,446 in attorneys' fees, against only
$356,792 in actual damages.
Finally, the present application is actually the third fee
compilation put together by Radiant. The original computation was
made in a petition presented
by Radiant in 1969, for its attorneys' work through the
proceedings in this court on objections to the master's report.
In those documents, Radiant's senior counsel enumerated 3,397.72
hours of lawyers' time and calculated the "total time value" at
"accustomed billing rates" to be $127,327.05. Notably, the fee
schedule contained therein listed hourly charges ranging from $40
in 1963-64 to $50 in 1967-69 for lead counsel and $25 in 1962-63
to $40 in 1967-69 for associates. A second tabulation, covering,
in addition, the period through the denial of certiorari in 1971,
and presented to Day-Glo for purposes of settlement of the fees
question, contained 444 additional hours and a dollar figure of
$148,831.15.*fn8 The hourly charges for 1970-71 were listed as $60
for senior counsel and $50 for associates. In the present
request, however, the former billing rates have been totally
abandoned and an entirely new schedule adopted. Under the current
petition, the hourly charges have ballooned to a flat rate of
$100 for senior counsel and $50 for associates.
III. A Reasonable Attorneys' Fee
A. General Standards for Awarding Attorneys' Fees
Section 4 of the Clayton Act specifically provides that any
person injured by antitrust violations may recover "a reasonable
attorney's fee". 15 U.S.C. § 15. Although courts have long
assessed fees under this statute, the determination of an
appropriate award in a specific case is frequently a "delicate,
embarassing and disturbing" task. Milwaukee Towne Corp. v.
Loew's, Inc., 190 F.2d 561, 569 (7th Cir. 1951). See Courtesy
Chevrolet, Inc. v. Tennessee Walking Horse B. & E.A.,
393 F.2d 75, 77 (9th Cir. 1968). Over-generosity, in particular, must be
guarded against so as to maintain public respect for and
confidence in the organized bar.*fn9 However, courts must discharge
this obligation mindful that the "apparent purpose behind this
part of section 4 [is] to award the successful plaintiff a
reasonable attorney's fee so that his treble damage recovery [is]
not . . . unduly diminished by the payment to ...