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Big Cuts for Excessive Rates, Vague Entries, and Overbilling

The law firm of Kase & Druker lost over $35,000 in attorney fees for excessive attorney bill rates, lack of contemporaneous timekeeping, failure to provide clear time entries, billing attorney rates for ministerial tasks, and overbilling in New York Youth Club, et. al. v.
Town of Harrison, et. al., 12-CV-7534 (CS), 2016 WL 3676690 (S.D.N.Y July 6, 2016). Ms. Frome’s billed hourly rate of $450 was reduced by the Court to $375 concluding her forty one years of practice involved little work in trial level civil rights work. Co-counsel, Mr. Druker, fees were reduced from $375 to $275 as his associate level expertise was mainly in criminal defense litigation.

As to a lack of contemporaneous timekeeping, Ms. Frome submitted records claimed to have been used to re-create her billing, but Mr. Druker simply submitted to the Court his time was “so well documented that contemporaneous records [were] unnecessary.” While the Court accepted Ms. Frome’s submitted records, they were not so willing to overlook Mr. Druker’s complete lack of even an attempt to provide substantiating evidence of his billed time. His hours were reduced to 5.2 hours for his attendance at depositions which were time-stamped to evidence the time he spent in attendance.

The biggest cut to Ms. Frome’s billing was by 25% across the board for vague entries such as “Research,” and “Discovery.” Additionally, time spent preparing documents for mailing, filing motions, and assembling exhibits were cut by the Court as ministerial tasks. An additional 20 hours were reduced from Ms. Frome’s billing for excessive time spent reviewing and researching motions for someone of Ms. Frome’s experience.

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