requested in the complaint. Thus, the plaintiffs prevailed with
respect to the major purpose for which the suit was brought.
The defendants agree that the plaintiffs' attorneys are
entitled to fees pursuant to § 1988, but dispute the claimed
amount of $20,783.75.
The defendants contest the amount of the fees claimed on three
grounds: (1) Plaintiffs failed to present adequate evidence to
support an award of $20,783.75; (2) The hours claimed are
unreasonable, excessive, duplicative, and disproportionate to the
results achieved; (3) The calculation of a fee award for a
federally funded legal services organization may not be based on
the "customary" hourly rate that would be charged by a private
With regard to defendants' first contention, the court finds
that the sworn affidavits submitted by plaintiffs' attorneys
provide a sufficient evidentiary basis for the award of
attorneys' fees. Each affidavit includes a detailed list of the
items of work done and the time spent on each item.
After a careful review of each affidavit, we conclude that the
attorneys allocated their time reasonably. Over a period of
approximately two and one-half years, the four attorneys spent a
total of 369.50*fn3 hours working on this case. This included 27
hours spent by two attorneys in formulating the complaint.
Approximately 70 hours were spent by three attorneys in
successfully seeking class certification of this suit.
Approximately 110 hours were spent on discovery matters including
the review of IDPA materials and files. The information gained as
a result thereof was important to the plaintiffs' successful
motion for class certification and their successful opposition to
defendants' motion for summary judgment. The court fails to see
anything unreasonable about the time spent on discovery and
Moreover, the court does not agree that the plaintiffs'
attorneys unnecessarily duplicated each other's work. It is clear
from a review of the affidavits that the time spent by
plaintiffs' attorneys on research, drafting of pleadings,
memoranda regarding class certification and defendants' motion
for summary judgment, settlement negotiations and drafting of
proposed settlement orders was reasonable.
Finally, the defendants propose that plaintiffs' attorneys'
hourly rate should be calculated on a cost-plus reasonable profit
basis as suggested by Copeland v. Marshall, 594 F.2d 244
(D.C.Cir. 1978) (vacated May 29, 1979).
We do not accept defendants' contention that the hourly billing
rate of attorneys for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago
(LAFC) should be based on the fully allocated cost to the
organization of an attorney's time. This contention has been
almost uniformly rejected by courts in this district and others.
See, e.g., Lackey v. Bowling, 476 F. Supp. 1111 (N.D.Ill., 1979)
(Grady, J.); Custom v. Quern, 482 F. Supp. 1000 (N.D.Ill., 1980)
(Marshall, J.); Rodriguez v. Taylor, 569 F.2d 1231 at 1248 (3d
Cir. 1977); Torres v. Sachs, 538 F.2d 10 (2d Cir. 1976) (relying
on the language and legislative history of 42 U.S.C. § 1973(1)(c)
and cited with approval in H.Rep. 94-1558 at p. 8 n. 6 dealing
with attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988); Fairley v.
Patterson, 493 F.2d 593 at 606-607 (5th Cir. 1974). We find the
above cited opinions of Judges Grady and Marshall to be well
reasoned and persuasive and we agree that the reasonable value of
the attorneys' services should be measured by the hourly rate
that comparable counsel would charge a fee-paying client in
equally complex federal litigation.
The hourly rates used by plaintiffs' attorneys in calculating
the attorneys' fees requested are reasonable. Four LAFC attorneys
worked on this case. Attorney Futorian is a 1970 graduate of the
Chicago Law School who engaged in private practice before joining
LAFC. She has extensive experience in the welfare rights field.
Her request for fees computed at an hourly rate of $60.00 is
reasonable in light of the high quality of her work before this
court and the comparability of this rate to rates of equally
experienced attorneys in this area.
Attorney Soltman is a 1969 graduate of the University of
Chicago Law School and his entire legal career has been spent as
an attorney for legal service organizations like LAFC. Mr.
Soltman also has a great deal of experience with cases similar to
this one. We find an hourly rate of $65.00 to be reasonable.
Attorney Johnson is a 1975 graduate of Harvard Law School.
After serving as law clerk to Judge McMillen for two years, Mr.
Johnson began working for LAFC. An hourly rate of $50.00 is
Attorney Stevens is a 1976 graduate of Chicago-Kent College of
Law and worked for LAFC until September of 1979. An hourly rate
of $45.00 is reasonable.
In conclusion, the court has carefully reviewed the hours spent
on this case by each of the four attorneys as disclosed by their
affidavits. We find from the affidavits that the time spent on
the various motions and settlement negotiations was entirely
reasonable, and not excessive. There is no indication that the
time spent on any matter was unnecessarily duplicated by the four
plaintiffs' attorneys. Moreover, plaintiffs' attorneys have not
requested fees for the time spent preparing the present motion.
Overall consideration of the quality of representation, the
ability and experience of plaintiffs' attorneys, the time spent
by the attorneys during a lengthy period of complex negotiations,
the reasonableness of the hourly rates, and the successful
results achieved,*fn4 leads the court to conclude that the
plaintiffs' attorneys are entitled to an award in the amount of
$20,783.75 and that the defendant Illinois Department of Public
Aid be and is required to pay said amount to the Legal Assistance
Foundation of Chicago.
IT IS SO ORDERED.