Sharing the dream is the ada accommodating all

Fifteen years ago, Rein Law apparently completed a fees motion in an ADA case in a fraction of the time it takes now. But Rein's increased rate has apparently not resulted in increased efficiencies, as would be expected to justify the increased rate.

I therefore deduct ,108 from the lodestar in connection with the fees motion reply brief. Judge Jenkins found the number of hours reasonable, but found that the work should have been performed by a more junior attorney because the "motion and its supporting declarations were mainly reproductions of documents filed and utilized in Rein's other cases" and therefore "the 8.4 hours billed did not warrant any specialized legal expertise." Id. Judge Jenkins therefore awarded Rein Law 8.4 hours for the fees motion at reduced rate of 5 an hour instead of 5—Rein's rate at the time. In the fifteen years since Mac Dougal, Rein's hourly rate has nearly doubled to 5 an hour, reflecting his depth of experience and specialized knowledge.

But fee awards should not produce a windfall to attorneys. On the other hand, if the parties cannot resolve the fees issue because a plaintiff claims an unreasonable amount of attorneys' fees, the court may reduce any eventual fee award on the basis that the plaintiff unreasonably protracted the litigation. In practice, parties in ADA suits often reach a tentative agreement during mediation. This is excessive given the nature of this case, the statements themselves and Cabalo's and Mc Guinness's considerable experience.

The Mac Dougal order on the motion for attorneys' fees does not expressly state whether the 8.4 hours was for the opening brief only or for both the opening brief and the reply brief.

Because of unreasonable overstaffing and billing practices, detailed below, I will award ,453.68 in fees and ,550 in costs, totaling ,003.68. AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT The ADA was adopted in 1990 to provide a "national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities" and to "address the major areas of discrimination faced day-to-day by people with disabilities." 42 U. But these efficiencies are not reflected in the fees requested by Rein Law.

Garcia is the operator of Taqueria El Grullense and the lessee of the property. Rein stated in a declaration that he offered to settle at that time for ,184. The defendants did not accept this offer and the parties were unable to settle attorney fees and costs. There is nothing in the record to suggest that defendants requested supporting documentation for the statement of fees and costs at the mediation. Rein Law's request is unreasonable because the motion does not raise novel legal or factual issues, the opening brief is virtually identical to prior fees motions filed by Rein Law, and because Rein Law assigned the majority of the work (67% of the attorney hours) to its most senior attorney at 5 per hour. 4 hours at Cabalo's rate, one hour at Rein's rate and 4 hours for Clefton's rate (totaling ,045) is more than reasonable for this work.

Hernandez, represented by Rein Law, filed suit on June 22, 2012 against Taqueria El Grullense, Juan Francisco Gamez Garcia, and Oscar Pang Cheng Liu and Chu Ching Liu as Trustees of the Oscar Pang Cheng Liu and Chu Ching Liu Trust, alleging denials of full and equal access to public facilities in violation of the ADA and California law. This statement is not covered by the mediation privilege since it is required by the General Order. Hernandez, through Rein Law, rejected the defendants' Rule 68 offer and filed the motion for attorneys' fees on December 20, 2013. Rein Law's motion includes billing records for its attorneys and paralegals listing each billing entry. toward filing." Block-billing is separate grounds for reducing fees. Fees motion Rein Law requests approximately ,474 for preparing its motion for attorneys' fees, comprising 19 hours for Rein, 8.2 hours for Cabalo, 1.2 hours Mc Guiness, and .8 hour for Clefton. Rein in support of motions for attorney's fees in his other ADA access cases."); Overbo, 07-cv-05368 MHP (LB) (N. Bay Area Rapid Transit Dist., 00-cv-2206 CW, 2007 WL 2778784 (N. All three briefs even include the seemingly fact-specific assertions that "Defendants' choices made this case much more complicated than it needed to be, necessitating additional work for plaintiff's attorney" and that "If defendants complain about how much time plaintiff's attorneys have been required to spend on this case, they have only themselves to blame." Even though the opening brief is in large part a copy of a prior brief, Rein billed 11.6 hours, Cabalo billed 2.6 hours, Mc Guiness billed 1.2 hours, and Clefton billed .8 hours (totaling 16.2 hours and ,321) in connection with the opening brief.

By requiring plaintiffs to provide defendants a statement of attorneys' fees and costs incurred to date, and, if requested, detailed supporting documentation, paragraph 6 affords defendants the opportunity to assess the reasonableness of the claimed fees. Tellingly, ten months earlier, before the mediation, Mc Guiness billed 1.7 hours (1.50) to attend an 11-minute case management conference in October 2012. I deduct 1 hour (5) from Cabalo's request to allow for reasonable travel time to and from Rein Law's office.

Paragraph 6 further provides that "[i]f requested by defendant, plaintiff should provide documentation and support for its attorney's fees similar to what an attorney would provide in a billing statement to a client." reach a tentative agreement. Accordingly, although I ostensibly award Cabalo 5.4 hours and Rein one hour for preparing for the mediation, the reality is that the great majority of the fees which I award Rein Law through the mediation were incurred in preparation for the mediation. Preparing for and attending case management conferences Cabalo billed 2.7 hours (

Paragraph 6 further provides that "[i]f requested by defendant, plaintiff should provide documentation and support for its attorney's fees similar to what an attorney would provide in a billing statement to a client." reach a tentative agreement. Accordingly, although I ostensibly award Cabalo 5.4 hours and Rein one hour for preparing for the mediation, the reality is that the great majority of the fees which I award Rein Law through the mediation were incurred in preparation for the mediation. Preparing for and attending case management conferences Cabalo billed 2.7 hours ($1,147.50) to attend—not to prepare for—a case management conference on August 6, 2013 which lasted six minutes. The matter was called at pm, so Cabalo had to wait in the courtroom for eight minutes before the matter was called. 44 (civil minutes of case management conference); Mc Guinness billing records at 3. Paragraph 6 of General Order 56 provides that once the parties reach a tentative agreement on injunctive relief, "plaintiff shall forthwith provide defendant with a statement of costs and attorney's fees incurred to date, and make a demand for settlement of the case in its entirety." Paragraph 6 imposes two distinct requirements on plaintiffs—provide the defendant with a statement of costs and fees and make a demand for settlement. As noted below, I have reviewed the billing records in The Supplemental Declaration of Paul Rein states that Hernandez's total request for fees, including work on the reply brief in support of the fees motion, is $88,249. The party seeking fees "bears the burden of establishing entitlement to an award and documenting the appropriate hours expended and hourly rates." Hensley v. It appears that many of these tasks are non-legal matters and should reasonably have been handled by a non-attorney. The site inspections, the limited discovery it undertook, the factual investigation, and its work with the access consultant all related to the merits of the case, which was central to the mediation. 62 (civil minutes of case management conference); Cabalo billing records. 1999) ("a reasonable attorney's fee should be adequate to attract competent counsel but [should] not produce windfalls to attorneys") (citing Blum v. Since the ADA provides for strict liability for denial of access— motive and intent are irrelevant—it is often wise for defendants to promptly investigate the premises and if they are not in compliance, admit liability and agree to fix the problems, forestalling the need for plaintiffs to incur attorneys' fees to achieve ADA compliance. GENERAL ORDER 56 To advance efficient and effective litigation of ADA cases and to address defendants' concerns about costs, in 2005 this District adopted General Order 56 to set a protocol for litigating ADA cases. Rein Law did not total the fees requested for various discrete tasks, e.g., drafting complaint, preparing for mediation, factual investigation, etc., and not all of the entries are expressly linked to any particular task, making it difficult to determine exactly the amount of fees incurred for each task. "A prevailing plaintiff under the ADA should ordinarily recover an attorney's fee unless special circumstances would render such an award unjust." Jankey, 537 F.3d at 1130 (internal punctuation and citation omitted). This leaves Cabalo 5.4 hours ($2,295) for those tasks, which is reasonable in this case. Of course, virtually all of the work Rein Law performed in this matter before the mediation was in preparation for the mediation. "Such a policy ensures an incentive for 'impecunious' plaintiffs who can ill afford to litigate their claims against defendants with more resources." Walker, 107 F. Hernandez returned to Taqueria El Grullense in the last week of January 2012. Hernandez never complained or mentioned these incidents to Taqueria El Grullense. The requested fees consist of 74.1 hours for attorney Paul Rein at $645 per hour, 68.6 hours for attorney Catherine Cabalo at $425 per hour, and 12.1 hours at $495 per hour for attorney Celia Mc Guiness, totaling 156.1 attorney hours, 24.6 hours at $175 an hour for paralegal Aaron Clefton and 3.6 hours at $135 per hour for paralegal Holly Jaramillo, totaling 28.2 paralegal hours. For example, on July 11, 2013, Rein billed .8 hours for "Work on plaintiff's portion of Jt CMC Statement; instructions to staff re communications w/ defense counsel, their additions, etc. I note that much of the moving papers is substantially similar to papers filed by Mr. August 17, 2010) ("the only parts of [Rein Law's] 21-page motion that are case-specific are the factual and procedural history section and the sections itemizing Plaintiffs' fees and litigation expenses"), Report and Recommendation adopted September 7, 2010); George v. In this case, Rein Law's opening brief on the fees motion is virtually identical to a brief filed by Rein Law in this Court in March 2013 in Cruz v. A fees motion filed by Rein Law in November 2012 in Delson (Dkt. 23) also featured legal arguments identical to those presented here. City Of Gainesville, Ga., 177 F.3d 949, 951 (11th Cir. California's Unruh Act likewise provides for attorneys' fees for the prevailing party, though unlike the ADA the California law awards Under the ADA, "the court or agency, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee, including litigation expenses, and costs." 42 U. Defendants are therefore well-served to request the detailed supporting documentation authorized by General Order 56, in particular where the defendants dispute the claimed fees. FACTUAL BACKGROUND Plaintiff Gerardo Hernandez is a "physically disabled person who cannot walk due to paraplegia and who requires use of a wheelchair for locomotion." Second Amended Complaint ¶ 4 [Dkt. He alleges that he attempted to use the restroom after his meal but he "had difficulty entering the men's restroom in his motorized wheelchair because the doorway was very narrow and not of the required width to provide access; he could not physically get in far enough to reach the toilet." Id. This episode caused Hernandez "to suffer difficulty, discomfort and embarrassment, all to his physical, mental and emotional damages." Id. According to the Second Amended Complaint, [Hernandez] returned to the restaurant in a smaller, manual wheelchair, thinking that perhaps this smaller wheelchair would fit into the restroom, but once "through" the exterior restroom doorway he suffered a similar experience being unable to use the restroom, got stuck in the men's restroom, encountered barriers which did not allow him to reach any toilet in time, and suffered a humiliating bodily functions accident causing him difficulty, discomfort and Id. Hernandez seeks $87,730 in fees and $14,283 in costs (including $12,100 in expert fees), totaling $102,013. Some of these entries are improperly block-billed, making it impossible for me to determine whether a reasonable amount of time was spent on each task. Rein had to spend so much time preparing this fee motion; it could have been done by a more junior attorney. 21, 2007) (awarding counsel, including Rein Law, 15 hours for fees motion instead of 65 hours requested because issues in fees motion "substantially overlap with those in the previous motion"). The legal arguments and authorities cited in Starbucks are repeated word-for-word in this brief. The ADA has increased access to public and commercial facilities for thousands of people. Hernandez' s first amended complaint was filed on October 9, 2012. In accordance with General Order 56, plaintiff provided a statement of their fees and costs at the mediation—$58,693. For example, reply briefs submitted by Rein Law in Starbucks, Delson, Overbo, and White each address some or all of these issues.

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Paragraph 6 further provides that "[i]f requested by defendant, plaintiff should provide documentation and support for its attorney's fees similar to what an attorney would provide in a billing statement to a client." reach a tentative agreement. Accordingly, although I ostensibly award Cabalo 5.4 hours and Rein one hour for preparing for the mediation, the reality is that the great majority of the fees which I award Rein Law through the mediation were incurred in preparation for the mediation. Preparing for and attending case management conferences Cabalo billed 2.7 hours ($1,147.50) to attend—not to prepare for—a case management conference on August 6, 2013 which lasted six minutes. The matter was called at pm, so Cabalo had to wait in the courtroom for eight minutes before the matter was called. 44 (civil minutes of case management conference); Mc Guinness billing records at 3.

Paragraph 6 of General Order 56 provides that once the parties reach a tentative agreement on injunctive relief, "plaintiff shall forthwith provide defendant with a statement of costs and attorney's fees incurred to date, and make a demand for settlement of the case in its entirety." Paragraph 6 imposes two distinct requirements on plaintiffs—provide the defendant with a statement of costs and fees and make a demand for settlement. As noted below, I have reviewed the billing records in The Supplemental Declaration of Paul Rein states that Hernandez's total request for fees, including work on the reply brief in support of the fees motion, is $88,249. The party seeking fees "bears the burden of establishing entitlement to an award and documenting the appropriate hours expended and hourly rates." Hensley v. It appears that many of these tasks are non-legal matters and should reasonably have been handled by a non-attorney. The site inspections, the limited discovery it undertook, the factual investigation, and its work with the access consultant all related to the merits of the case, which was central to the mediation. 62 (civil minutes of case management conference); Cabalo billing records.

1999) ("a reasonable attorney's fee should be adequate to attract competent counsel but [should] not produce windfalls to attorneys") (citing Blum v. Since the ADA provides for strict liability for denial of access— motive and intent are irrelevant—it is often wise for defendants to promptly investigate the premises and if they are not in compliance, admit liability and agree to fix the problems, forestalling the need for plaintiffs to incur attorneys' fees to achieve ADA compliance. GENERAL ORDER 56 To advance efficient and effective litigation of ADA cases and to address defendants' concerns about costs, in 2005 this District adopted General Order 56 to set a protocol for litigating ADA cases. Rein Law did not total the fees requested for various discrete tasks, e.g., drafting complaint, preparing for mediation, factual investigation, etc., and not all of the entries are expressly linked to any particular task, making it difficult to determine exactly the amount of fees incurred for each task. "A prevailing plaintiff under the ADA should ordinarily recover an attorney's fee unless special circumstances would render such an award unjust." Jankey, 537 F.3d at 1130 (internal punctuation and citation omitted). This leaves Cabalo 5.4 hours ($2,295) for those tasks, which is reasonable in this case. Of course, virtually all of the work Rein Law performed in this matter before the mediation was in preparation for the mediation.

"Such a policy ensures an incentive for 'impecunious' plaintiffs who can ill afford to litigate their claims against defendants with more resources." Walker, 107 F. Hernandez returned to Taqueria El Grullense in the last week of January 2012. Hernandez never complained or mentioned these incidents to Taqueria El Grullense. The requested fees consist of 74.1 hours for attorney Paul Rein at $645 per hour, 68.6 hours for attorney Catherine Cabalo at $425 per hour, and 12.1 hours at $495 per hour for attorney Celia Mc Guiness, totaling 156.1 attorney hours, 24.6 hours at $175 an hour for paralegal Aaron Clefton and 3.6 hours at $135 per hour for paralegal Holly Jaramillo, totaling 28.2 paralegal hours. For example, on July 11, 2013, Rein billed .8 hours for "Work on plaintiff's portion of Jt CMC Statement; instructions to staff re communications w/ defense counsel, their additions, etc. I note that much of the moving papers is substantially similar to papers filed by Mr. August 17, 2010) ("the only parts of [Rein Law's] 21-page motion that are case-specific are the factual and procedural history section and the sections itemizing Plaintiffs' fees and litigation expenses"), Report and Recommendation adopted September 7, 2010); George v. In this case, Rein Law's opening brief on the fees motion is virtually identical to a brief filed by Rein Law in this Court in March 2013 in Cruz v. A fees motion filed by Rein Law in November 2012 in Delson (Dkt. 23) also featured legal arguments identical to those presented here.

City Of Gainesville, Ga., 177 F.3d 949, 951 (11th Cir. California's Unruh Act likewise provides for attorneys' fees for the prevailing party, though unlike the ADA the California law awards Under the ADA, "the court or agency, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee, including litigation expenses, and costs." 42 U. Defendants are therefore well-served to request the detailed supporting documentation authorized by General Order 56, in particular where the defendants dispute the claimed fees. FACTUAL BACKGROUND Plaintiff Gerardo Hernandez is a "physically disabled person who cannot walk due to paraplegia and who requires use of a wheelchair for locomotion." Second Amended Complaint ¶ 4 [Dkt. He alleges that he attempted to use the restroom after his meal but he "had difficulty entering the men's restroom in his motorized wheelchair because the doorway was very narrow and not of the required width to provide access; he could not physically get in far enough to reach the toilet." Id. This episode caused Hernandez "to suffer difficulty, discomfort and embarrassment, all to his physical, mental and emotional damages." Id. According to the Second Amended Complaint, [Hernandez] returned to the restaurant in a smaller, manual wheelchair, thinking that perhaps this smaller wheelchair would fit into the restroom, but once "through" the exterior restroom doorway he suffered a similar experience being unable to use the restroom, got stuck in the men's restroom, encountered barriers which did not allow him to reach any toilet in time, and suffered a humiliating bodily functions accident causing him difficulty, discomfort and Id. Hernandez seeks $87,730 in fees and $14,283 in costs (including $12,100 in expert fees), totaling $102,013. Some of these entries are improperly block-billed, making it impossible for me to determine whether a reasonable amount of time was spent on each task. Rein had to spend so much time preparing this fee motion; it could have been done by a more junior attorney. 21, 2007) (awarding counsel, including Rein Law, 15 hours for fees motion instead of 65 hours requested because issues in fees motion "substantially overlap with those in the previous motion"). The legal arguments and authorities cited in Starbucks are repeated word-for-word in this brief.

The ADA has increased access to public and commercial facilities for thousands of people. Hernandez' s first amended complaint was filed on October 9, 2012. In accordance with General Order 56, plaintiff provided a statement of their fees and costs at the mediation—$58,693. For example, reply briefs submitted by Rein Law in Starbucks, Delson, Overbo, and White each address some or all of these issues.

,147.50) to attend—not to prepare for—a case management conference on August 6, 2013 which lasted six minutes. The matter was called at pm, so Cabalo had to wait in the courtroom for eight minutes before the matter was called. 44 (civil minutes of case management conference); Mc Guinness billing records at 3. Paragraph 6 of General Order 56 provides that once the parties reach a tentative agreement on injunctive relief, "plaintiff shall forthwith provide defendant with a statement of costs and attorney's fees incurred to date, and make a demand for settlement of the case in its entirety." Paragraph 6 imposes two distinct requirements on plaintiffs—provide the defendant with a statement of costs and fees and make a demand for settlement. As noted below, I have reviewed the billing records in The Supplemental Declaration of Paul Rein states that Hernandez's total request for fees, including work on the reply brief in support of the fees motion, is ,249. The party seeking fees "bears the burden of establishing entitlement to an award and documenting the appropriate hours expended and hourly rates." Hensley v. It appears that many of these tasks are non-legal matters and should reasonably have been handled by a non-attorney. The site inspections, the limited discovery it undertook, the factual investigation, and its work with the access consultant all related to the merits of the case, which was central to the mediation. 62 (civil minutes of case management conference); Cabalo billing records. 1999) ("a reasonable attorney's fee should be adequate to attract competent counsel but [should] not produce windfalls to attorneys") (citing Blum v. Since the ADA provides for strict liability for denial of access— motive and intent are irrelevant—it is often wise for defendants to promptly investigate the premises and if they are not in compliance, admit liability and agree to fix the problems, forestalling the need for plaintiffs to incur attorneys' fees to achieve ADA compliance. GENERAL ORDER 56 To advance efficient and effective litigation of ADA cases and to address defendants' concerns about costs, in 2005 this District adopted General Order 56 to set a protocol for litigating ADA cases. Rein Law did not total the fees requested for various discrete tasks, e.g., drafting complaint, preparing for mediation, factual investigation, etc., and not all of the entries are expressly linked to any particular task, making it difficult to determine exactly the amount of fees incurred for each task. "A prevailing plaintiff under the ADA should ordinarily recover an attorney's fee unless special circumstances would render such an award unjust." Jankey, 537 F.3d at 1130 (internal punctuation and citation omitted). This leaves Cabalo 5.4 hours (,295) for those tasks, which is reasonable in this case. Of course, virtually all of the work Rein Law performed in this matter before the mediation was in preparation for the mediation. "Such a policy ensures an incentive for 'impecunious' plaintiffs who can ill afford to litigate their claims against defendants with more resources." Walker, 107 F. Hernandez returned to Taqueria El Grullense in the last week of January 2012. Hernandez never complained or mentioned these incidents to Taqueria El Grullense. The requested fees consist of 74.1 hours for attorney Paul Rein at 5 per hour, 68.6 hours for attorney Catherine Cabalo at 5 per hour, and 12.1 hours at 5 per hour for attorney Celia Mc Guiness, totaling 156.1 attorney hours, 24.6 hours at 5 an hour for paralegal Aaron Clefton and 3.6 hours at 5 per hour for paralegal Holly Jaramillo, totaling 28.2 paralegal hours. For example, on July 11, 2013, Rein billed .8 hours for "Work on plaintiff's portion of Jt CMC Statement; instructions to staff re communications w/ defense counsel, their additions, etc. I note that much of the moving papers is substantially similar to papers filed by Mr. August 17, 2010) ("the only parts of [Rein Law's] 21-page motion that are case-specific are the factual and procedural history section and the sections itemizing Plaintiffs' fees and litigation expenses"), Report and Recommendation adopted September 7, 2010); George v. In this case, Rein Law's opening brief on the fees motion is virtually identical to a brief filed by Rein Law in this Court in March 2013 in Cruz v. A fees motion filed by Rein Law in November 2012 in Delson (Dkt. 23) also featured legal arguments identical to those presented here. City Of Gainesville, Ga., 177 F.3d 949, 951 (11th Cir. California's Unruh Act likewise provides for attorneys' fees for the prevailing party, though unlike the ADA the California law awards Under the ADA, "the court or agency, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee, including litigation expenses, and costs." 42 U. Defendants are therefore well-served to request the detailed supporting documentation authorized by General Order 56, in particular where the defendants dispute the claimed fees. FACTUAL BACKGROUND Plaintiff Gerardo Hernandez is a "physically disabled person who cannot walk due to paraplegia and who requires use of a wheelchair for locomotion." Second Amended Complaint ¶ 4 [Dkt. He alleges that he attempted to use the restroom after his meal but he "had difficulty entering the men's restroom in his motorized wheelchair because the doorway was very narrow and not of the required width to provide access; he could not physically get in far enough to reach the toilet." Id. This episode caused Hernandez "to suffer difficulty, discomfort and embarrassment, all to his physical, mental and emotional damages." Id. According to the Second Amended Complaint, [Hernandez] returned to the restaurant in a smaller, manual wheelchair, thinking that perhaps this smaller wheelchair would fit into the restroom, but once "through" the exterior restroom doorway he suffered a similar experience being unable to use the restroom, got stuck in the men's restroom, encountered barriers which did not allow him to reach any toilet in time, and suffered a humiliating bodily functions accident causing him difficulty, discomfort and Id. Hernandez seeks ,730 in fees and ,283 in costs (including ,100 in expert fees), totaling 2,013. Some of these entries are improperly block-billed, making it impossible for me to determine whether a reasonable amount of time was spent on each task. Rein had to spend so much time preparing this fee motion; it could have been done by a more junior attorney. 21, 2007) (awarding counsel, including Rein Law, 15 hours for fees motion instead of 65 hours requested because issues in fees motion "substantially overlap with those in the previous motion"). The legal arguments and authorities cited in Starbucks are repeated word-for-word in this brief. The ADA has increased access to public and commercial facilities for thousands of people. Hernandez' s first amended complaint was filed on October 9, 2012. In accordance with General Order 56, plaintiff provided a statement of their fees and costs at the mediation—,693. For example, reply briefs submitted by Rein Law in Starbucks, Delson, Overbo, and White each address some or all of these issues.