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Court Reduced Attorney’s Fee Award for “Description Issues”

In a recent case, a U.S. District Court reduced attorney’s fees for “blocking billing” and “vague entries.” Rock the Ocean Prod., LLC v. H1 Events, LLC, No. 15-5189, 2016 WL 4272931 (E.D. La. Aug. 15, 2016).

The practice of block billing is “disfavored by the Courts,” id. at 3 (citing Creecy v. Metropolitan Property and Cas. Ins. Co., 548 F. Supp. 2d 287 (E.D. La. 2008)), because it shows a lack of billing judgment and “prevents the Court from being able to conduct a proper analysis of the time actually spent on each of the transactions listed.” Id. Although block billing is not a basis for refusing to award attorney’s fees in their entirety, the court will apply a flat reduction of a specific percentage from the award. See id. Here, the court decreased the blocked billed time by 25%.

Moreover, the court decreased entries that were vague. Attorney fee entries must contain “sufficient detail and probative value” so that the court can “determine with a high degree of certainty that the billing is reasonable. Id. at 4 (internal citation omitted). Here, the billing entries reference emails but fail to describe the subject matter of the emails. The court deemed such entries as vague and applied a 50% reduction. See id.

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