Firm’s Failure to Correct Unreasonable Billing Practices Results in Fee and Cost Reductions

Petitioner filed a motion for attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $180,104.01 under the Vaccine Act, which permits an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, on behalf of Mr. Curtis Webb and prior separate counsel at Maglio, Christopher & Toale, PA. Forrest v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, not reported in Fed. Cl. (2019) Using the lodestar method to determine reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, those submitted by Maglio Christopher and Toale, PA fees were found to be reasonable, however, attorney Webb’s billings were reduced. Notably, this was not the first time that Mr. Webb had been warned about vagueness, block billing, and overqualified tasks in his billing records. See Brooks v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., No. 14-563V, 2017 WL 6276461, at *4 n.7 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Apr. 20, 2017).

Here, the Court reduced Mr. Webb’s excessive travel costs, specifically, airfare for an expert that exceeded $1,400 and lacked proper documentation. The Court determined that the airfare was likely to be first class or business class fare and found it reasonable to reduce the cost by 50%, noting that another expert had voluntarily reduced his own business class ticket by 50% based on other submitted expense receipts.

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