Scharffenberger v. HHS, No. 11-221V (Fed. Cl Spec. Mstr. May 15, 2015) (Corcoran)
Attorney’s Fees and Costs decision holding that the appropriate forum for an attorney practicing in Washington, DC, for purposes of determining the forum rate, is not Washington, DC, or even the Court of Federal Claims, but rather the Vaccine Program itself. Thus, the Court considered hourly rates, adjusted for inflation, previously awarded by other special masters to DC attorneys. The court also considered hourly rates that had been awarded in the program to non-DC attorneys in its analysis of the forum rate. Ultimately, the court awarded lower hourly rates than requested for both the attorney and paralegals. In contrast, the Court rejected Respondent’s arguments that the number of hours billed was unreasonable and made no deductions therefor.
With regard to costs, the court disagreed with Respondent’s contention that it was unnecessary to retain an accountant to calculate lost wages, and awarded the costs. The court agreed with Respondent that attorney’s fees and expert costs were both unnecessary and excessive and denied the costs.
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