Attorney’s Fees – Hourly Rates, Number of Hours, Expert Fees, Travel

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O’Neill v HHS, No. 08-243V (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. April 28, 2015)(Hamilton-Fieldman)

Decision on Attorney’s Fees and Costs.  The court awarded the hourly rates requested for all of the firm’s paralegals and all but one of the firm’s attorneys, over the Respondent’s objection.  The court decreased travel time to 50% of the rate billed for attorneys and experts alike.

With regard to Respondent’s objections to the reasonableness of the number of hours billed, the court disagreed that it was unreasonable for two attorneys to try the case together, and declined to reduce the hours requested.  The court also held that an appropriate amount of time was spent by counsel on medical literature research and review. The court reduced the hours spent in fee litigation by 25%.

Regarding costs, the court awarded the full hourly rate requested for Petitioner’s expert, Carlo Tornatore, MD.  The court reduced the number of hours he billed by 6.5 hours.  The court also reduced the hourly rate of Petitioner’s life care planner/vocational expert James Patrick, Ph.D.  However, the Court rejected Respondent’s argument that the number of hours billed by Dr. Patrick was excessive.

The court declined to award expert fees for Petitioner’s fee expert, holding that this expenditure was unreasonable.  Finally, the court awarded costs associated with LexisNexis.

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