The opinion of the court was delivered by: James H. Alesia, United States District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the court is a petition for award of attorney's fees, filed by
plaintiff Judith M. Kelley ("Kelley"). For the following reasons, the
court grants Kelley's petition for award of attorney's fees.
Kelley brought this case under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794. She claimed that defendant City of Chicago
("the City") discriminated against her when it determined that she was
unable to continue working as a police officer because she could not
"maintain an independent and stable gait," in violation of Chicago Police
Department General Order 98-2. Kelley argued that General Order 98-2
violated the Rehabilitation Act because it was not job-related or
consistent with business necessity.
On April 2, 2002, after a hearing, the court granted Kelley's motion
for a temporary restraining order, thereby allowing her to return to
work. The court, with both parties' agreement, extended the temporary
restraining order to May 3, in order to accommodate the City's attorney.
On April 9, the parties stated in open court that they had settled the
case. Particularly, the City agreed to: (1) be enjoined from enforcing
General Order 98-2 minimum eligibility requirements against Kelley, as
long as she passed a firing range test; (2) reinstate Kelley's baby
furlough days, personal days, compensatory time, and paid medical roll
leave time; (3) pay reasonable attorney's fees; and (4) enforcement of
the agreement by the court. (Tr. Apr. 9, 2002, at 11-12.) In return,
Kelley agreed to waive compensatory damages. Despite these
representations in court, the parties were unable to finalize the
settlement of the case and the litigation continued. On April 23, the
court found that the parties' in-court agreement constituted a settlement
of this case and entered a consent decree in favor of Kelley that was
consistent with the parties' April 9 agreement.
Kelley has now filed a petition for award of attorney's fees. The City
raises six challenges to the fee petition. Particularly, the City
argues: (1) any fee award should be limited to fees incurred as of the
parties' in-court agreement on April 9; (2) the number of hours that
Kelley's attorneys have billed for preparation of the instant fee
petition is unreasonable; (3) the court should reduce the number of hours
billed for preparing the complaint and motion for a temporary restraining
order; (4) Kelley is not entitled to fees for time spent preparing and
filing a motion for relatedness; (5) Kelley is not entitled to fees for
time spent on correspondence with the City's counsel regarding Kelley's
leave time; and (6) Kelley's counsel's billing rate is
unsubstantiated.*fn1 The court will first review the standard for
granting a petition for attorney's fees and then will address each
of the City's arguments in turn.
A. Standard for Granting a Petition for Attorney's Fees
Because Kelley's case arises under 29 U.S.C. § 794, the remedial
provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 2000d apply to this case.
29 U.S.C. § 794a(a)(2). Prevailing parties under 42 U.S.C. § 2000d
are entitled to recover a reasonable attorney's fee.
42 U.S.C. § 1988(b). The Supreme Court has held that a plaintiff who
receives a judgment in her favor in the form of a consent decree is a
prevailing party and, therefore, entitled to recover attorney's fees.
Buckhannon Board & Care Home Inc. v. West Virginia Dep't of Health &
Human Resources, 532 U.S. 598, 604 (2001). Therefore, Kelley is a
prevailing party entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees in this
When determining attorney's fee awards under 42 U.S.C. § 1988, the
court must first determine the number of hours reasonably expended on the
litigation and then multiply that number of hours by a reasonable hourly
rate. Jaffee v. Redmond, 142 F.3d 409, 413 (7th Cir. 1998) (citing
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983)). The court will apply
that analysis to this case and will first review the City's objections to
the number of hours that Kelley's attorneys have billed for this case and
will then review the City's objection to Kelley's attorneys' billing
B. Kelley's Petition for Award of Attorney's Fees
1. Number of Hours Reasonably Expended
The City raises five objections to the number of hours that Kelley's
attorneys have billed for this case. The City argues: (1) any fee award
should be limited to fees incurred as of the parties' in-court
agreement; (2) the number of hours that Kelley's attorneys have billed
for preparation of the instant fee petition is unreasonable; (3) the
court should reduce the number of hours billed for preparing the
complaint and motion for a temporary restraining order; (4) Kelley is not
entitled to fees for time that her attorneys spent preparing and filing a
motion for relatedness; and (5) Kelley is not entitled to fees for time
spent on correspondence with the City's counsel regarding Kelley's leave
First, the court finds that the hours that Kelley's counsel spent on
settlement and preparing for trial after the April 9 hearing were
reasonably incurred. After the in-court agreement on April 9, the City
attorney's statements and actions prevented the execution of the
settlement upon the terms as stated in court. Therefore, Kelley's
attorneys were forced to spend additional time seeking to enforce the
settlement on the agreed-upon terms. Additionally, on April 16, ...