Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS v. ILLINOIS BELL TELEPHONE

November 24, 1982

COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ILLINOIS BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, DEFENDANT. HARDEN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS, V. ILLINOIS BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, DEFENDANT AND PARTY PLAINTIFF.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Aspen, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs brought this action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., against defendant Illinois Bell Telephone ("Bell"), alleging that its maternity leave policies discriminate on the basis of sex. On February 29, 1980, this Court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment with respect to the issues of reinstatement from maternity leave and accrual of seniority during maternity leave. The Court further granted Bell's motion for summary judgment with respect to its policies concerning wages, basic medical insurance and the duration of maternity leave. On April 8, 1982, this Court approved a settlement agreement between the parties*fn1 and dismissed these cases with prejudice. Presently pending before the Court is the Harden plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees.*fn2

Hardin plaintiffs' counsel request attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(k), in the amount of $73,373.75, to compensate Mr. Ivan E. Bodensteiner and Mr. Michael M. Mulder for their legal services. Mr. Bodensteiner claims that he spent 180.4 hours on this case and seeks an hourly rate of $125. He further urges that this Court apply a multiplier of 2.0 for time spent prior to this Court's order of February 29, 1980, granting both parties summary judgment with respect to certain issues, and a multiplier of 1.5 for the remainder of his time. He does not seek a multiplier for time spent on the attorneys' fees petition. Mr. Mulder seeks an hourly rate of $100 for 264.4 hours, with a multiplier of 1.5 for all time other than that spent on the fee application. Bell opposes plaintiff's request for attorneys' fees in a number of respects.*fn3

42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(k) governs the award of attorneys' fees in Title VII cases, and provides that:

  In any action or proceeding under this subchapter
  the Court, in its discretion, may allow the
  prevailing party, other than the Commission or
  the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee as
  part of the costs, and the Commission and the
  United States shall be liable for costs the same
  as a private person.

While the statute vests discretion in courts, that discretion is not unlimited. A prevailing party in a Title VII case should ordinarily recover attorneys fees, unless special circumstances would render such an award unjust. Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 415, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 2370, 45 L.Ed.2d 280 (1975); Cf., Newman v. Piggy Park Enterprises, 390 U.S. 400, 402, 88 S.Ct. 964, 966, 19 L.Ed.2d 1263 (1968) (principle that prevailing party should ordinarily recover attorneys' fees in Title II actions). The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has articulated the factors to be considered in determining attorneys' fees awards. As a starting point, courts are to consider the hours spent by an attorney times the attorney's billing rate. Waters v. Wisconsin Steel Works, 502 F.2d 1309, 1322 (7th Cir. 1974), cert. denied, 425 U.S. 997, 96 S.Ct. 2214, 48 L.Ed.2d 823 (1976). Additional elements are set forth in the Code of Professional Responsibility, as adopted by the American Bar Association:

  Factors to be considered as guides in determining
  the reasonableness of a fee include the
  following:
  "(1) The time and labor required, the novelty and
  difficulty of the questions involved, and the
  skill requisite to perform the legal service
  properly.
  "(2) The likelihood, if apparent to the client,
  that the acceptance of the particular employment
  will preclude other employment by the lawyer.
  "(3) The fee customarily charged in the locality
  for similar legal services.
  "(4) The amount involved and the results
  obtained.
  "(5) The time limitations imposed by the client
  or by the circumstances.
  "(6) The nature and length of the professional
  relationship with the client.
  "(7) The experience, reputation, and ability of
  the lawyer or lawyers ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.