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Attorneys’ Fees Drastically Cut for Multiple Improper Billing Charges

In this case, the petitioner’s attorneys’ fees were reduced by $146,790.69 due to multiple improper charges. First, the Court reduced the petitioners’ counsel’s billable hours for administrative work. For example, the attorney spent 18.38 hours reviewing invoices, setting up meetings, and making travel arrangements and spent an additional 71 hours filing documents. Secondly, the petitioners’ award was reduced for “vague, excessive, and occasionally irrelevant billing, as well as block billing.” In this category, there were over 330 hours-worth of vague entries and several entries that the court found to be excessive or duplicative. For example, the Court stated, “Mr. McHugh billed 1.5 hours of time, which is documented simply as ‘email.’ No detail or explanation is given regarding to whom the email was sent or what the email concerned, and petitioners have not provided additional information explaining why these and other similar billing entries are otherwise reasonable or necessary.” Third, fees were reduced for the hours counsel spent fundraising. Mr. McHugh billed 24 hours for fundraising and failed to provide an explanation of why these activities were relevant. Lastly, Mr. McHugh despite being previously warned that he could only bill half-rate for travel; he billed his full rate for travel. Some other costs were denied as well such as a meal expense that included alcohol and the sending of documents via Fed-Ex to Donald Trump (especially since the court found no reason to send Mr. Trump documents related to this case). See Mostovoy v. Sec’y of Health and Human Services, No. 02-10V, 2016 WL 720969, at *1 (Fed. Cl., Office of the Special Masters Feb. 4, 2016).

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