Honorable Sidney H. Stein January 24, 2013page 3one will; it would be most efficient for the cross-examination to occur in deposition and be summarized in briefing, rather than take place for hours at a fairness hearing. Unlessthe Court is to exclude the expert witnesses entirely, depositions are required.Information regarding the contract attorneys on class counsel’s lodestar report isalso necessary. A comparison between the lodestar report and the attorney resumessubmitted by class counsel reveals that $28.1 million of the $51.4 million lodestaramount was based on work performed by over 40 contract attorneys.
Exhibit E toMemo in Support of Fees, Dkt. 171-5. As set forth in my objection, these contractattorneys were likely being paid between $20 to $45/hour
they were performinglow-skilled work.
Objection, Dkt. 181 at 11-12. (And it turns out my objection wasinsufficiently cynical: reporting from an independent journalist on this case reveals thatthe attorneys were paid $32/hour at most, and otherwise contradicts the assertions inplaintiffs’ briefing and declarations.
Daniel Fisher, “Class-Action Firms CapitalizeOn Wretched Market For Law-School Grads,” Forbes.com (Jan. 4, 2013).) Yet leadcounsel assigned greatly exaggerated hourly rates for those contract attorneys between$325 to $550/hour.
.This is wrong. “The lodestar figure should be based on
in line withthose [rates] prevailing in the community for
by lawyers of reasonablycomparable skill, experience, and reputation.’”
Reiter v. MTA N.Y. City Transit Auth
., 457F.3d 224, 232 (2d Cir. 2006) (emphasis added). Simply put, “Michelangelo should notcharge Sistine Chapel rates for painting a farmer’s barn.”
Ursic v. Bethlehem Mines
, 719F.2d 670, 677 (3d Cir. 1983).
Accord, e.g., Detroit v. Grinnell Corp.,
560 F.2d 1093, 1100 (2dCir. 1977);
Tucker v. City of New York
, 704 F. Supp. 2d 347, 356 n.7 (S.D.N.Y. 2010);
In reKeySpan Corp. Sec. Litig.
, CV 2001-5852 (ARR) (MDG), 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29068, at*53-*54 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 25, 2005) (rejecting use of $275/hour attorneys to do documentreview).
And there is no question that attorneys who have to resort to $32/hour jobs inthe unpleasant conditions of temporary contract work are not even “Michelangelo.”Discovery is necessary to test plaintiffs’ assertions about the tasks of the contractattorneys. For example, plaintiffs claim that they needed highly-skilled attorneys to dothe work that was assigned to them. There is readily available evidence that couldprove this that plaintiffs did not submit to the Court. For example, did Hudson Legal(and other third-party providers) advertise for specific skills and experience? (Theindiscriminate $32/hour rate reported by Fisher—paid both to experienced attorneysand to recent law-school grads (and a 1998 graduate who was not admitted to the baruntil 2009,
Dkt. 196 ¶ 158)—certainly suggests a cannon-fodder scenario.) Didplaintiffs put the contract-work out for bid, and, if so, how was the project described? It