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TUSD Response Mendoza Fee Petition

TUSD Response Mendoza Fee Petition

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Published by DA Morales
TUSD responds to a request for over $700,000 from the Mendoza Plaintiffs
TUSD responds to a request for over $700,000 from the Mendoza Plaintiffs

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Published by: DA Morales on Dec 03, 2013
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06/22/2014

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85716-5300 (520) 322-5000 Lisa Anne Smith (AZ #16762) lasmith@dmyl.com Sesaly O. Stamps, Esq. (AZ #25773) sstamps@dmyl.com
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
ROY and JOSIE FISHER, et al., Plaintiffs, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Intervenor, vs. ANITA LOHR, et al., Defendants, and SIDNEY L. SUTTON, et al., Defendants-Intervenors.  No. 74-CV-90-TUC-DCB (lead case)
DEFENDANT TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT’S RESPONSE TO THE MENDOZA PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR AN AWARD OF ATTORNEYS’ FEES
(Assigned to: Honorable David C. Bury) MARIA MENDOZA, et al., Plaintiffs, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Intervenor, vs. TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT  NO. ONE, et al., Defendants.  No. 74-CV-204-TUC-DCB (consolidated case)
Case 4:74-cv-00090-DCB Document 1505 Filed 11/27/13 Page 1 of 18
 
 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 The Tucson Unified School District, by and through counsel undersigned, hereby responds to the Mendoza Plaintiffs’ Motion for an Award of Attorneys’ Fees and its Memorandum in support of the same. This Response is supported by the following Memorandum of Points and Authorities.
MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES I. Introduction
The Mendoza Plaintiffs seek a total award of $718, 813.38. The District objects to (1) an award based on the hourly rates requested by the Mendoza Plaintiffs; (2) an award that includes payment for time entries that are insufficiently detailed to support the amount requested; and (3) an award based on the excessive number of hours for which reimbursement is sought and, in general, the excessive amount of the fee request.
II. General Background
This § 1983 action was initiated in 1974 by the Fisher Plaintiffs, representing African American students in the Tucson Unified School District (the “District”). A separate lawsuit was filed in 1975 by the Mendoza Plaintiffs representing Mexican American
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 students in the District. The United States moved to intervene in 1976 and intervention was granted. The cases were consolidated and tried to the Court in 1977. The Court entered a ruling in June 1978 and notices of appeal were filed. Rather than pursuing these appeals, the Parties entered into a Stipulation of Settlement that was approved by the Court on August 31, 1978.
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 In the Unitary Status Plan adopted by the Court in February 2013, the Parties generally refer to the Mendoza Plaintiffs as “Latino” rather than Mexican American.
Case 4:74-cv-00090-DCB Document 1505 Filed 11/27/13 Page 2 of 18
 
 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 In January 2005, the District filed a Petition for Unitary Status with supporting documentation. The Parties litigated various aspects of the Petition until the District Court granted unitary status and dismissed the case in December 2009. The Plaintiffs appealed, the District cross-appealed and the case was argued to the Ninth Circuit in May 2011. In July 2011, the Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings. In an Order dated January 6, 2012, the terms of which were negotiated by the Parties, the Court appointed Dr. Willis D. Hawley as the Special Master. The January 6 Order set forth the obligations of the Special Master. Chief among these duties was the requirement that he create a Unitary Status Plan (“USP”) designed to outline the District’s  path to unitary status within four school years. From approximately June through December 2012, the Parties engaged in discussions and negotiations, culminating in the submission of a Unitary Status Plan to the Court, most of which was agreed to by the Parties subject to specific identified areas of disagreement. The Parties briefed the disputed issues to the Court, the Court ruled, a final USP was drafted incorporating these rulings and in an Order dated February 19, 2013, the final USP was adopted. The USP included a  provision allowing the private Plaintiffs to submit informal requests for attorneys’ fees and to file formal applications if the fees could not be negotiated. The Plaintiffs submitted applications for fees in July, 2013. On September 11, 2013, pursuant to this Court’s order, the Parties participated in a settlement conference facilitated by Federal Magistrate Bruce MacDonald. The Parties were unable to reach an agreement regarding the fee requests.
Case 4:74-cv-00090-DCB Document 1505 Filed 11/27/13 Page 3 of 18

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