The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:
Another "cottage industry."
Based on our analysis, the Court awards Plaintiff $42,319.50 in
attorneys' fees and $1,769.54 for costs incurred.
On June 20, 1991, Jason Scott Gregory and five of his friends
were inside a friend's apartment located at 226 Westminster
Street, Jacksonville, Illinois. Gregory and his friends gathered
to celebrate his safe return from military service in Operation
Desert Storm. At approximately 4:00 a.m., perhaps because Gregory
and his friends were becoming too boisterous, police officers
Lieutenant Neil Snelling, Sergeant Randy Weigler, Patrolman Brian
Coultas, Patrolman Kyle DeFrates, Patrolman Stewart Gray,
Patrolman Charles Pritchett, and Patrolman Brian Osmulski entered
Thereafter, the police officers escorted Gregory and his friends
outside where they were subsequently handcuffed and transported
to the Jacksonville Police Station.
Once at the police station, Gregory and his friends were guided
to the "booking" room. There, after refusing to take a
breathalyzer test, Sergeant Weigler commenced to escort Gregory
to another area of the station. In the course of the escort, an
altercation ensued. Gregory alleged that Patrolman Osmulski
grabbed him by his throat and pinned him against the wall.
Further, he alleged that Sergeant Weigler, Patrolman DeFrates,
and Patrolman Osmulski, without any provocation, assaulted and
beat him. As the altercation progressed, Gregory claimed
Patrolman Coultas, Patrolman Gray, and Patrolman Pritchett
observed the assault but failed to intervene. After the
altercation, Lieutenant Snelling summoned paramedics who
suggested that Gregory obtain treatment at a local hospital. As a
result of the altercation, Gregory allegedly suffered abrasions,
contusions, and lacerations, some of which permanently scarred
Gregory was subsequently charged with resisting arrest,
consumption of alcohol by a minor, and obstruction of justice. On
December 4, 1991, those charges were dismissed.
On June 7, 1993, Plaintiff Gregory filed a lawsuit for
excessive force and related claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against the City of Jacksonville, Lieutenant Snelling, Sergeant
Weigler, Patrolman Coultas, Patrolman DeFrates, Patrolman Gray,
Patrolman Pritchett, and Patrolman Osmulski. The case proceeded
to trial by jury in August of 1994. On August 11, 1994, we
entered a directed verdict dismissing the City of Jacksonville
and Lieutenant Snelling. Additionally, by oral motion, Plaintiff
dismissed Patrolman Coultas and Patrolman Pritchett with
prejudice. On August 16, 1994, the jury returned a verdict in
favor of Patrolman DeFrates and against Sergeant Weigler,
Patrolman Gray, and Patrolman Osmulski. The jury awarded the
Plaintiff $3,000.00 in compensatory damages and $12,750.00 in
punitive damages ($4,250.00 against each of the three liable
To be eligible for attorney's fees under § 1988, a plaintiff
need only be a prevailing party. Estate of Borst v. O'Brien,
979 F.2d 511, 515 (7th Cir. 1992). In the underlying case,
Plaintiff was awarded a total judgment of $15,750.00 ($3,000.00
in compensatory damages and $12,750.00 in punitive damages).
Thus, clearly Plaintiff is a prevailing party and entitled to an
award of attorneys' fees, Defendants do not argue otherwise.
The starting point for determining the amount of attorneys'
fees is the lodestar. Estate of Borst, 979 F.2d at 515. The
lodestar is calculated by multiplying the number of hours
reasonably expended on the litigation by the reasonable hourly
rate. Id. "The burden is on the party seeking the award to
substantiate the hours worked and the rate claimed." Id. Once
the party seeking the award satisfies this burden, we may "then
review the fee request, and may increase or decrease it in light
of the factors adopted by Congress in enacting § 1988, now known
as the Hensley [v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 103 S.Ct. 1933,
76 L.Ed.2d 40 (1983)] factors."*fn1 Id. Since the "lodestar
calculation is presumed to be a reasonable fee award," Eddleman
v. Switchcraft, Inc., 927
1193 F.2d 316, 318 (7th Cir. 1991), an increase or decrease of the
lodestar "may not be done arbitrarily, however, and a `concise
but clear explanation' should accompany any modification of the
submitted lodestar." Estate of Borst, 979 F.2d at 515-16
(citations omitted). Regarding an award for costs incurred, such
an award is within the discretion of the district court. Id. at
Plaintiff requests attorneys' fees in the amount of
$42,319.50,*fn2 and also seeks compensation for costs incurred
in the amount of $2,499.54, totaling $44,819.04. In support of
Plaintiff's request, he submits a memorandum of law, an itemized
statement of legal services performed and costs incurred, and the
affidavits of attorneys Michael B. Metnick, Frederick J.
Schlosser, George F. Taseff, Howard W. Feldman, Charles J.
Gramlich, and D. Peter Wise, and paralegals William R. Clutter
and Claire Allen.*fn3 Defendants dispute the reasonableness of
several of the component fees comprising the fee request and the
costs incurred. Defendants' arguments will be addressed in turn.
A. Hourly Rates of Attorneys Schlosser and Metnick
Defendants argue that Schlosser's fee of $110.00 per hour and
Metnick's fee of $150.00 per hour are excessive.*fn4 They argue
that the prevailing market rate in Sangamon County for the type
and quality of services furnished by Schlosser and Metnick ranges
from $65.00 to $100.00 an hour. Unfortunately, Defendants'
argument apparently focuses on what they believe to be the
average market rate in the Sangamon County area and not on the
rate charged by the two attorneys at issue.
As recently noted by the Seventh Circuit, "it is not the
function of judges in fee litigation to determine the equivalent
of the medieval just price. It is to determine what the lawyer
would receive if he were selling his services in the market
rather than being paid by court order." In re Continental
Illinois Securities Litigation, 962 F.2d 566, 568 (7th Cir.
1992); accord, Gusman v. Unisys Corp., 986 F.2d 1146, 1150 (7th
Cir. 1993) ("When the lawyers sell their time in the market, the
market provides the starting point: the lawyer's hourly rate. *
* * Only an assumption that all lawyers are identical could
support the averaging approach, under which all lawyers in a
division of the court receive the same hourly fee.") (emphasis
Here, Metnick submits an affidavit stating that his "normal"
billing rate is $150.00 an hour. Schlosser's affidavit omits his
"normal" billing rate, but Metnick, as senior partner, verifies
Schlosser's rate of $110.00 per hour. Additionally, Plaintiff
submits the affidavits of unaffiliated attorneys Taseff, Feldman,
and Gramlich which state that hourly rates of $110.00 and $150.00
are reasonable in the Central District of Illinois for Civil
Rights litigation. Thus, based on recent Seventh Circuit
precedent, since the hourly rates of $150.00 and $110.00 are the
respective rates charged to the market for the services of the
attorneys at issue, Plaintiffs attorneys are presumptively
entitled to be compensated at this rate.*fn5 Gusman, 986 F.2d
(Attorneys are "presumptively entitled" to their respective
rates, "rather than to some rate devised by the court.").
However, although attorneys are presumptively entitled to their
respective hourly rates, we may depart from this rate for some
reason "other than the ability to identify a different average
rate in the community." Gusman, 986 F.2d at 1151. Defendants
offer several arguments supporting their contention that the
Court should ...