MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR COSTS AND ATTORNEYS' FEES
JUDITH GAIL DEIN, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the court on the "Plaintiffs' Motion for a Mandatory Award of Costs and Attorneys' Fees Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b)" (Docket No. 37). Pursuant to this motion, as amended (
The defendants have opposed the motion for fees and costs on various grounds. After a careful review of the relevant pleadings and affidavits, this court finds the defendants' objections unpersuasive, but concludes that the plaintiffs are not entitled to be compensated for the work done in connection with the motions for conditional class certification. Therefore, plaintiffs' motion for fees and costs is ALLOWED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Plaintiffs are hereby awarded fees in the amount of $27,452.50 and expenses in the amount of $2,213.83, for a total award of $29,666.33.
The FLSA provides for an award of costs and fees to a prevailing party, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), and the defendants agree that the plaintiffs are entitled to some award in the instant case. The method for determining such fees is the "lodestar calculation," which the First Circuit described in
Plaintiffs have requested an hourly rate of $375 for lead counsel's substantive work, and $250 for his travel time and time spent on the fee petition. Lead counsel, Myong J. Joun, is a 1999 graduate of Suffolk University Law School and has practiced law since then, with a focus on civil rights litigation. His requested hourly rates are supported by affidavits from two experienced civil rights attorneys who practice in the various state and federal courts in Massachusetts. The plaintiffs are also seeking compensation for non-duplicative work done by Attorney Jeffrey P. Wiesner, who consulted on the case. Attorney Wiesner is a 2002 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law. He has had an active litigation practice since then, including experience in employment litigation. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for Attorney Wiesner at the rate of $350 per hour. Attorney Wiesner's fee petition is supported by affidavits from two other experienced litigators who practice in the various state and federal courts in the Commonwealth.
The hourly rates sought are below those awarded in other employment-related litigation as detailed in plaintiffs' memorandum. (
The Alleged Cap
Defense counsel asserts that plaintiffs' counsel verbally accepted a proposal to cap fees and expenses at $25,000. (Docket No. 40 at ¶ 8). Plaintiffs' counsel denies that this offer was accepted, and the plaintiffs' acceptance of the Third Offer of Judgment (Docket No. 32) provides that fees and costs would be "as later determined by this Court." Defendants did not inform the court otherwise, and the Judgment entered by the court made no mention of fees and costs. I find that no agreement was reached to cap the fees and costs.
Defense counsel has objected to specific tasks undertaken by plaintiffs' counsel and related expenses. All the objections have been addressed in "Plaintiffs' Reply to Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Fee Petition" (Docket No. 42). There is no reason to address each item individually. Suffice it to say that this court accepts the explanations provided by the plaintiffs and will not reduce the amounts sought for the specific items.
As noted above, this court denied plaintiffs' initial motion for class certification. While a supplemental motion was filed, the motion was never joined and the settlement was reported promptly after the supplemental motion was filed. The settlement related only to the individual claims of the three named plaintiffs. Under such circumstances, plaintiffs should not be compensated for issues relating to class certification.
The standard for conditional class certification under the FLSA is not a demanding one. Plaintiffs need only make a "modest factual showing" that a potential class of similarly situated plaintiffs may exist.
The court has reviewed the expenses and found them to be reasonable.
For all the reasons detailed herein, plaintiffs are hereby awarded attorneys' fees in the amount of $27,452.50 and expenses in the amount of $2,213.83, for a total award of $29,666.33.