B. Positive Multiplier for Quality of Representation
Plaintiffs request a 50% upward adjustment of the lodestar to account for the extraordinary performance of counsel. Ordinarily, the lodestar is presumed to be reasonable compensation. Pennsylvania v. Delaware Valley Citizens' Council, 478 U.S. 546 at 564, 565, 92 L. Ed. 2d 439, 106 S. Ct. 3088 (1986). However, in exceptional cases, a quality enhancement is justified if the fee applicant offers evidence that "the quality of service rendered was superior to that one reasonably should expect in light of the hourly rates charged and that the success was 'exceptional.'" Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 899, 79 L. Ed. 2d 891, 104 S. Ct. 1541 (1983). See also Hensley, 461 U.S. at 435; Rode v. Dellarciprete, 892 F.2d 1177, 1184 (3d Cir. 1990).
Plaintiffs were represented by superior counsel, and Casey was one of the more visible and closely-watched court cases in recent history. However, this does not defeat the fact that Plaintiffs prevailed on only one legal claim. Additionally, over the course of these proceedings, five attorneys billed at a rate of $ 200 or more per hour. In light of these rates and the experience level they reflect, the quality of representation does not exceed expectations. Accordingly, no multiplier will be awarded for extraordinary performance of counsel.
IV. Time Spent on Fee Petition
Plaintiffs request compensation for 60.50 hours Plaintiffs' attorneys spent on preparing the fee petition.
Time spent preparing the fee petition is compensable. See, e.g., Student Pub. Interest Research Group of New Jersey v. AT&T Bell Lab., 842 F.2d 1436, 1453 (3d Cir. 1988). The Court "treats the fee petition litigation, as a separate entity subject to lodestar and Hensley reduction analysis." Institutionalized Juveniles v. Secretary of Pub. Welfare, 758 F.2d 897, 924 (3d Cir. 1985).
Considering that Plaintiffs' hours were reduced by 60% and did not receive the quality multiplier requested, the Court believes a 20% reduction for each person who worked on the fee petition is appropriate.
The Court awards Plaintiffs $ 6,918.00 in attorneys' fees.
Plaintiffs request $ 22,567.34 in costs incurred in the matters before this Court. The request includes duplicating costs, court liaison charges, electronic database research, messenger service, postage, report services, telecopy, word processing, and transportation. Defendants first challenge that the only costs Plaintiffs are entitled to recover are those covered by 28 U.S.C. § 1920.
Costs taxable under § 1920 include disbursements for printing, witness fees and filing fees. Midnight Sessions, Ltd. v. City of Philadelphia, 755 F. Supp. 652, 663 (E.D. Pa. 1991), vacated on other grounds, 945 F.2d 667 (3d Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 112 S. Ct. 1668 (1992); David v. AM Int'l, 131 F.R.D. 86, 90 (E.D. Pa. 1990).
However, in Rank v. Balshy, 590 F. Supp. 787 (M.D. Pa. 1984), the court stated, "when a statute shifts the typical burden of attorney fees and costs, the traditional limitations of 28 U.S.C. § 1920 do not necessarily apply, particularly in civil rights cases." Id. at 803. See also Dowdell v. City of Apopka, 698 F.2d 1181, 1188-89 (11th Cir. 1989). In determining the costs permissible, the Rank court examined the purpose of 42 U.S.C. § 1988, which is to ensure effective enforcement of civil rights laws by making cases financially feasible to litigate. Rank, 590 F. Supp. at 803, Midnight Sessions, 755 F. Supp. at 663. The court stated further, "the factually complex and protracted nature of civil rights litigation frequently makes it necessary to make sizeable out-of-pocket expenditures which may be as essential to success as the intellectual skills of the attorneys." Rank, 590 F. Supp. at 803 (quoting Dowdell, 698 F.2d at 1190).
Accordingly, the Court awards costs to Plaintiffs to the extent they were reasonably and necessarily incurred. Defendants also challenge a number of the attorneys' costs as improper. The Court agrees with two of Defendants' objections. Word processing charges are not awarded because they are part of an attorney's overhead costs. Costs for messenger service and telecopy are reduced by 20%. Plaintiffs seek $ 1,627.25 in messenger costs which is unreasonable, considering that the Court did not require Plaintiffs to send documents overnight. Plaintiffs seek $ 241.47 for telecopy. This expense is unreasonable, considering that Plaintiffs have not explained what this charge means. As Plaintiffs withdrew their request for costs associated with the warning label research on Lexis and Westlaw, the Court deducts $ 1,875.62 from costs.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs are awarded $ 20,236.33 in costs.
For the reasons stated above, the Court awards Plaintiffs $ 194,817.00 in attorneys' fees for the services provided in this Court, $ 6,918.00 for time spent preparing the fee petition, and $ 20,236.33 in costs, for a total of $ 221,971.33.
An appropriate Order follows.
Upon consideration of Plaintiffs' petition for attorneys' fees, Defendants' response, Plaintiffs' reply, and for the reasons stated in foregoing Memorandum, Plaintiffs are awarded $ 221,971.33 in attorneys' fees and costs.
IT IS SO ORDERED.