United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTHEW F. KENNELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Flora, who at the time was a pretrial detainee at the Cook
County Jail, sued Sheriff Thomas Dart and Cook County for
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Flora
is a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. He sued
alleging that he was assigned to cells that were unfit for
wheelchair-bound detainees. The defendants-which have faced
several lawsuits like Flora's-steadfastly refused to
consider settlement at all stages of the case and fought
tooth-and-nail for every inch of ground. The Court entered
summary judgment in Flora's favor on the question of
liability on most of his claims, see Flora v. Dart,
No. 15 C 1127, 2017 WL 2152392 (N.D. Ill. May 17, 2017), and
set the case for trial on damages, as well as on the claims
on which liability was still at issue.
morning of trial, with a jury venire summoned and waiting,
the defendants agreed to consider settlement for the first
time. The parties settled the case, with Flora dismissing his
remaining claims in return for payment of $2, 500, and
leaving the determination of an award of attorney's fees
to the Court. The defendants insisted on withdrawal of the
Court's summary judgment decision as part of the
settlement, presumably to avoid having an adverse precedent
on the books. Flora did not care about this and agreed, as
did the Court in order to avoid burdening the prospective
week later, the parties filed a stipulation and motion saying
1. The Parties jointly move this Court to enter an Order
vacating its May 17, 2017, Memorandum Opinion and Order (Dkt.
2. Defendants agree to pay Plaintiff a monetary settlement to
release all claims relating to his detention at the Cook
County Jail pursuant to the Parties' Confidential
Settlement Agreement and General Release exclusive of
attorney's fees and costs; and
3. The Parties agree to grant discretion to the Court to
determine an appropriate amount of attorney's fees and
and Joint Motion for Entry of Order (dkt. no. 205) at 1. The
Court entered an order stating that "[p]ursuant to the
parties' stipulation documenting their settlement, their
joint motion (dkt. no. 205) for entry of an order vacating
the Court's 5/17/2017 memorandum opinion and order is
granted, and that memorandum opinion and order (dkt. no. 149)
is vacated." Dkt. no. 207 (order of 10/19/2017).
then moved for attorney's fees and expenses, as the
parties' settlement expressly contemplated.
In response, the defendants took the rather outrageous
position that due to Flora's agreement to vacate the
Court's summary judgment opinion, Flora was no longer the
prevailing party and was not entitled to a fee award. This
was ridiculous-the defendants had expressly agreed
to allow the Court to award attorney's fees to Flora, and
their counsel had never disclosed when asking the Court to
vacate its opinion that they planned to rely on that to deny
fees altogether. After the Court raised these problems, the
defendants withdrew the contention. Thus it is undisputed, as
it should have been all along, that Flora was the prevailing
party in this case. The Court therefore proceeds to determine
the amount of attorney's fees and costs to award to him.
starting point for determination of a reasonable
attorney's fee is the number of hours reasonably expended
on the litigation, multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate.
See Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983).
The party petitioning for fees bears the burden of showing
the reasonableness of the time requested as well as the
hourly rates. Id. at 437.
figure derived from multiplying the hours reasonably expended
by a reasonable hourly rate is referred to as the
"lodestar." A court can adjust the lodestar based
on twelve factors described in Hensley. Id.
at 434 n. 9. The twelve factors are:
(1) the time and labor required; (2) the novelty and
difficulty of the questions; (3) the skill requisite to
perform the legal service properly; (4) the preclusion of
employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the case; (5)
the customary fee; (6) whether the fee is fixed or
contingent; (7) time limitations imposed by the client or the
circumstances; (8) the amount involved and the results
obtained; (9) the experience, reputation, and ability of the
attorneys; (10) the “undesirability” of the case;
(11) the nature and length of the professional relationship
with the client; and (12) awards in similar cases.
Id. at 430 n. 3. "However, 'many of these
factors usually are subsumed within the initial calculation
of hours reasonably expended at a reasonable hourly
rate.'" Anderson v. AB Painting and
Sandblasting Inc., 578 F.3d 542, 544 (7th Cir. 2009)
(quoting Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434 n.9).
fee petition, Flora seeks recovery of fees for the following
attorneys and paralegals at the rates and ...