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Attorney cannot refuse to provide a detailed description in motion for attorney’s fees on the ground that the information is protected by attorney-client privilege

In a recent case before the Unites States District Court, Northern District of California, the court denied an attorney’s fees motion for failing to include a detailed description of the work performed, even though it acknowledged that the attorney has “legitimate concerns” over disclosing privileged information. See Venture Corporation v. Barrett, 2015 WL 8588239 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10, 2015).

In its motion for fees, the prevailing party deliberately omitted individual entries detailing the attorney’s work. The motion only included charts summarizing the daily and total hours billed by the attorney. The prevailing party argued that the opposing party is likely to appeal and providing a detailed work description would disclose privileged information. The district court recognized that the prevailing party’s concerns are “legitimate in light of that potential appeal.” Nevertheless, it denied the fee application because the failure to provide a detailed work description makes the court “unable to assess, as it must, if the requested fees are reasonable,” and also makes the opposing party “unable to challenge individual entries as unreasonable, excessive or otherwise flawed, as is his right.” Id. at 1.

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