based on objections actually raised by the adverse party." Id. at 721; Hensley, 461 U.S. at 437.
In addition to the lodestar, Plaintiff requests $ 14,591.30 costs. Defendants argue that charges for car rentals, overtime meals, copying, and overnight mail are excessive. The Court agrees that Defendants should not be required to pay for Drinker's staff's meals. Thus, a reduction of $ 741.04 is appropriate. In addition, as Drinker made excessive recourse to overnight mail services, the award will be reduced by $ 600. However, the Court believes that the other costs listed could reasonably have been incurred in this action and will make no further reduction.
With respect to Drinker's services, Plaintiff requests an enhanced fee for delay in payment. "In appropriate cases, the lodestar ought to be adjusted to account for the incurred costs of the delay plaintiffs' counsel has undergone in receiving payment." Keenan, 983 F.2d at 476. However, Plaintiff bears the burden of documenting the need for a delay multiplier. Id. "This evidence should document the costs of receiving delayed payment of fees." Plaintiff has not met this burden. It has not explained the costs involved or how the court is to calculate an enhanced fee. Plaintiff merely asserts that Drinker's hourly rates are now higher. Drinker even failed to detail the increase in those hourly rates despite the court's request for additional briefing on the reasonableness of the rates charged. Accordingly, no enhanced fee will be awarded.
D. Hours Expended by Maloney
Defendants have asserted 18 objections to Maloney's time entries. The Court finds a number of these objections to be meritorious. Maloney duplicated the efforts of lead counsel Drinker. In particular, Maloney charged for attorney Davis's attendance at trial and depositions where his function appears to have been as an observer. Maloney's role in this action should have been significantly reduced once Drinker was engaged in July, 1988. Maloney's attendance at meetings and conferences, and his participation in pre-trial and post-trial activities, after that date are, in part, duplicative. The Court must reduce the award for redundancy and over-staffing. Hensley, 461 U.S. at 432. A reduction of 74.5 hours, or $ 5,215 is reasonable.
Defendant also argues that Maloney billed for travel time at his regular rate. Because counsel do not perform the legal tasks justifying their hourly rate when travelling a reduction is appropriate. See, e.g., Rank v. Balshy, 590 F. Supp. 787, 796-97 (M.D. Pa. 1984). That reduction shall be 50% of the travel time. Approximately 44.5 hours were billed for travel, resulting in a reduction in the fee award of $ 1,557.5.
Maloney also claims certain excessive disbursements. These include the cost of a private meeting room rental and associated meals, and the purchase of ERISA treatises. Accordingly, Maloney's costs will be reduced by $ 322.8.
D. Hours Expended by Buckno
The Court will deny recovery of most expenses claimed in relation to the services rendered by Buckno. Absent explicit statutory or contractual authorization for the taxation of the expenses of a litigant's witnesses as costs, courts are bound by the limitations of 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and § 1821. Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 445, 96 L. Ed. 2d 385, 107 S. Ct. 2494 (1987); West Virginia Univ. Hospitals, Inc. v. Casey, 499 U.S. 83, 86, 113 L. Ed. 2d 68, 111 S. Ct. 1138 (1991). In particular, expert witness fees are not recoverable in ERISA actions except as provided by 28 U.S.C. § 1920. Downey Community Hospital v. Wilson, 977 F.2d 470, 474 (9th Cir. 1992). Accordingly, Plaintiff may only recover $ 40 for each day Mr. Lisicky attended trial. This figure cannot be calculated from the documentation Plaintiff has provided the Court. Accordingly, Plaintiff should submit details of the days Mr. Lisicky attended trial.
Attorney fee petitions are one of the easiest areas for attorneys to save their clients money or lose their clients money. This Court is constantly amazed by the lack of specificity evidenced by most fee petitions and objections thereto, and the lack of attention paid by counsel to the governing law.
Review of fee petitions is onerous enough without requiring district courts to do counsel's leg-work. Third Circuit law already gives district courts broad discretion to reduce fees or strike objections for lack of specificity. This Court will exercise that discretion.
On the facts of this case, and for the reasons stated above, Plaintiff is awarded attorneys fees in the amounts stated in the attached Order. The parties shall further brief the Court as to the proportion of the award each Defendant should bear.
An appropriate Order follows.
Daniel H. Huyett, 3rd, Judge
Upon consideration of the petition of Ruth Haberern ("Plaintiff") for an award of attorneys' fees and costs, and the arguments of counsel in support and in opposition thereto, Plaintiff is awarded the following:
1. For the services and costs of Drinker, Biddle & Reath - $ 273,197.76;
2. For the services and costs of Maloney, Danyi, Davis & Danyi - $ 31,061.36; and