United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
June 29, 1984
DONALD TOMCZAK, PLAINTIFF,
CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.
Attorney Patrick T. Murphy represented plaintiff before this
Court in his successful Shakman petition against defendant, who
was represented by the law firm of Jenner & Block. Murphy
petitions this Court for payment of attorneys' fees in the
amount of $13,312.50 and costs in the amount of $307.30.
Defendant objects to both the number of hours claimed and the
hourly rates billed. For the reasons stated herein the Court
grants Murphy's petition for fees and costs in the amount of
A. Hourly Rate Billed
Murphy seeks $150 for out-of-court time and $175 per hour
for in-court time. Defendant objects and claims that a rate of
$125 per hour should be mandated.
Defendant relies on the National Law Journal's report that
the average billing rate for Chicago partners is $127 per
hour. National Law Journal, February 27, 1984, at 30-31. The
same report shows that partners in firms such as Jenner &
Block bill up to $250 or more per hour. Id. at 27. Jenner &
Block has previously petitioned this Court for plaintiff's
attorneys' fees in another Shakman case. Shakman v. The
Democratic Organization of Cook County, No. 69 C 2145 (In Re
The Petition of John R. Schmidt, April 14, 1981). There, the
petition claimed a total of $92,038.68 in fees, however, none
of the five attorneys and two paralegals involved charged more
than $130 per hour. Id. This Court also considers that it has
previously found it reasonable for fees of up to $175 per hour,
filed by then plaintiff's attorneys Jenner & Block, to be
granted. Rybicki v. The State Board of Elections of the State
of Illinois, 584 F. Supp. 849, 858 (1984).
It is important that this Court judge the reasonableness of
Mr. Murphy's petition both in the amount charged per hour and
in the total claim. This Court has had the benefit of
assessing Mr. Murphy's advanced experience and expertise in
his many appearances on Shakman-related
matters. It is therefore within its discretion that this Court
finds Mr. Murphy's fees of $150 per hour for out-of-court time
and $175 per hour for in-court time to be reasonable.
B. Total Hours Billed
Defendant objects to the hours billed for time Mr. Murphy
spent on issues upon which plaintiff did not prevail and to
allegedly excessive post-trial conferences and trial review
time. This Court finds that the seven hours billed, concerning
allegations later dropped by plaintiff without trial, were
related to the successful claims. See Rybicki, supra, at 856.
Moreover, the overall results obtained justify compensation for
these hours. Id. Finally, the six hours claimed for post-trial
meetings with Mr. Tomczak and review of the case are considered
by this Court to be reasonable and not excessive within the
circumstances of this case. Therefore all hours claimed by Mr.
Murphy are acceptable to the Court.
This Court grants Murphy's petition for attorneys' fees of
$13,312.50 and costs of $307.30 for a total of $13,619.80.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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