Pickett v. Sheridan Health Care Ctr.

The law firm successfully represented plaintiff in a Title VII retaliation suit against her employer. The jury awarded $65,000 in damage. The attorneys then sought attorneys' fees of 131,665.88. The district court awarded $70,000. The Seventh Circuit vacated, acknowledging concerns about excessive fees. The district court looked to impermissible considerations in calculating the award; most significantly, it reduced the statutory award based on the existence of an agreement, which specifies that the agreed contingent fee will not apply to the statutory award of fees(42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(k)). The court should have provided plaintiff with an opportunity to respond before applying the Consumer Price Index and the Laffey Matrix (a chart of hourly rates for attorneys and paralegals in the Washington, D.C. area, prepared by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to be used in fee-shifting cases), and should have provided a clear explanation as to how it arrived at the hourly rate of $400. The district court also erred in reversing its award of fees to outside counsel. View "Pickett v. Sheridan Health Care Ctr." on Justia Law