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SKEHAN v. BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF BLOOMSBURG STATE CO

November 28, 1980

Joseph T. SKEHAN, Plaintiff,
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF BLOOMSBURG STATE COLLEGE et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MUIR

I. Introduction.

This case is before this court on remand from the Court of Appeals for a determination under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 of Plaintiff's entitlement to attorney's fees and, if he is entitled to any, the amount of those fees as a result of Plaintiff's modest success on the merits of this action. Skehan v. Board of Trustees of Bloomsburg State College, 590 F.2d 470 (3d Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 832, 100 S. Ct. 61, 62 L. Ed. 2d 41 (1979). The Plaintiff seeks an award of $ 120,738.64 in fees and expenses. Also pending before the undersigned as a Master appointed by the Court of Appeals by order dated September 2, 1980, is Plaintiff's application for attorney's fees for appellate work. That application has been referred to U. S. Magistrate Raymond J. Durkin for preliminary work and will be the subject of future proceedings. A hearing on Plaintiff's application for fees and expenses relating to district court work was held on September 10, 12, and 15, 1980. This opinion will dispose of Plaintiff's claims for attorney's fees for district court proceedings through September 15, 1980 with the exception of fees for work relating to two motions unrelated to attorney's fees filed by Plaintiff in September 1980.

 II. Findings of Fact.

 1. On October 10, 1972, Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Defendants with claims that they had violated his constitutional rights by their failure to provide him with a hearing prior to his termination on October 17, 1970 and by their failure to provide him with procedures to which he was entitled when the Defendants made the decision not to renew Plaintiff's contract after the 1970-71 academic year.

 2. Plaintiff sought, inter alia, to be granted full back pay and reinstatement.

 3. Suit was brought originally in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (Undisputed fact, hereinafter designated U).

 4. Defendants opposed this choice of venue.

 5. Harry Lore represented Plaintiff in the district courts in 1972 and 1973. (U)

 6. Mr. Lore seeks compensation for 120.5 hours of office time at $ 50.00 per hour and 16 hours of court time at $ 75.00 per hour. He also seeks $ 464.13 in costs and expenses. Multipliers on both are sought.

 7. Mr. Lore reviewed Plaintiff's papers, researched and prepared Plaintiff's complaint, represented Plaintiff at the hearing in this court on Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction, and prepared a memorandum of law on venue, a memorandum of law on laches, a reply to Defendants' brief, proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, another memorandum of law, and a motion to amend judgment and an accompanying brief.

 8. Mr. Lore graduated in 1958 from Temple Law School.

 9. Mr. Lore was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1958 and is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

 10. At the time that he represented Plaintiff in this Court, Mr. Lore had practiced law for at least ten years, primarily as an attorney in civil rights cases.

 11. At the time he represented Plaintiff, Mr. Lore was engaged in the practice of law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where attorneys of his training, experience and skill customarily charged for work of this type $ 75.00 per hour for court time and $ 50.00 per hour for office time which are both reasonable.

 13. Of the 120.5 hours of office time spent by Mr. Lore only 34.5 hours were proved to have contributed to Plaintiff's success in this case.

 14. Mr. Lore spent 16 hours of courtroom time at the preliminary injunction hearing, all of which contributed to Plaintiff's success in this case.

 15. Mr. Lore's lodestar-hours reasonably supportive of Plaintiff's claims multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate-is $ 1725.00 for office time, $ 1200.00 for court time for a total of $ 2925.00.

 16. It was reasonable for Mr. Lore to have incurred expenses of $ 464.13 and those expenses contributed to Plaintiff's success.

 17. Costs of $ 171.60 have already been awarded Mr. Lore, leaving $ 292.53 in expenses to which he is entitled.

 18. A preliminary injunction was sought and hearings were held on January 11 and 12, 1973.

 19. Defendants were the prevailing parties at the preliminary injunction stage of this case. (U)

 20. Plaintiff prevailed in this Court in 1973 on his claim that Defendants violated his due process rights by their failure to provide him a hearing prior to his termination. (U)

 21. This court awarded Plaintiff $ 1.00 in damages plus costs on May 9, 1973.

 22. Mr. Lore filed a two-page motion requesting attorney's fees on or ...


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