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Leah Jimmie, Josette Halechko, Lewis Bowers, and Janice Slater v. Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

December 2, 2010

LEAH JIMMIE, JOSETTE HALECHKO, LEWIS BOWERS, AND JANICE SLATER,
BY AND THROUGH : (JUDGE CONNER) THEIR NEXT FRIEND, CARL MOSIER;
RONALD PEARSON AND WILLIAM SACKS, BY AND THROUGH THEIR NEXT FRIEND, CONNIE HAMMANN; AND
EDWARD NAUSS AND BENJAMIN PERRICK, BY AND THROUGH THEIR
NEXT FRIEND, AKHNATON BROWNE; ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS
v.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA AND ESTELLE B. RICHMAN, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WELFARE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Christopher C. Conner United States District Judge

ORDER AND NOW, this 2nd day of December, 2010, upon consideration of Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion (Doc. 50) for Attorneys' Fees, Litigation Expenses, and Costs, it is hereby ORDERED as follow:

1. Plaintiffs' Motion is GRANTED.

2. Plaintiffs' counsel are awarded the sum of $210,000 for attorneys' fees, litigation expenses, and costs incurred through the final approval of the Settlement Agreement in this matter, which shall be paid to the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania on or before January 31, 2011.

3. In accordance with Rule 23(h)(3), the Court makes the following findings of fact in support of its award of attorneys' fees, litigation expenses, and costs:

a. Plaintiffs and the Class have entered into a comprehensive Settlement Agreement (Agreement) with the Defendants. The Agreement obligates the Defendants to take concrete steps to benefit Plaintiffs and the Class, including, inter alia: (1) identifying individuals with mental retardation in state psychiatric hospitals; (2) seeking funding to discharge those state hospital residents with dual diagnoses of mental illness and mental retardation (dual diagnoses) to appropriate community placements with necessary mental health and mental retar-dation services over a three-year period; (3) implementing discharge procedures that facilitate the success of the individuals' transitions to the community; (4) implementing a comprehensive Protocol -- monitored by an independent contractor -- based on the Integrative Mental Health Treatment Model to provide treatment to state hospital residents with dual diagnosis and that prescribes how assessments, treatment, and discipline of such individuals will be implemented; (5) requiring staff to undergo extensive training in these new treatment and assessment methods; and (6) establishing a Statewide Task Force to review the provision of community services to individuals with dual diagnoses to identify gaps in services and to make recommendations for necessary changes.

b. Following a fairness hearing on December 1, 2010, the Court approved the Settlement Agreement as fair, reasonable, and adequate in accordance with Rule 23(e).

c. The Court's Order that approved the Settlement Agreement incorporates the Agreement by reference and retains continuing jurisdiction over the case for purposes of interpretation and enforcement of the Agreement.

d. Paragraph VIII.8 of the Agreement provides that the Defendants will pay a total of $210,000 for Plaintiffs' attorneys' fees, litigation expenses, and costs through the date of final approval of the Agreement.

e. In accordance with the Court's Order dated September 2, 2010, the parties distributed personal notice to class members. This notice informed the Class, inter alia, that the Agreement provides for the payment of $210,000 by Defendants to Plaintiffs' counsel, subject to approval of the Court.

f. Plaintiffs' counsel submitted detailed, contemporaneously-maintained time records that reflect an aggregate lodestar of $214,670.50 broken down follows:

Attorney Hours Rate Lodestar Robert W. Meek 251.31 $450 $113,089.50 Mark J. Murphy 23.00 $425 $9,775.00 Robin Resnick 222.45 $380 $84,531.00 Carol Horowitz 24.25 $300 $7,275.00

g. Plaintiffs' counsel's time includes: (1) investigating, researching, and drafting the Complaint; (2) briefing a class certification motion and briefing and argument of Defendants' motion to dismiss;

(3) substantial discovery; (4) identifying and working with experts; and

(5) months of settlement negoti-ations. Counsel exercised proper ...


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