Legal Fees Expert Witness On “Petition For Reasonable Attorneys Fees”

In W.D. Penn. Court reduces “Petition for Reasonable Attorneys Fees” to make requested hourly rates consistent with prevailing market rates for routine discovery disputes, rather than “overall trial victories.”, legal fees expert witness James King writes:

In Sandvik Intellectual Prop. AB v. Kennametal Inc., 02:10-CV-000654, 2013 WL 141193 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 11, 2013), the prevailing party in a discovery suit sought reimbursement for 264.20 hours which resulted in counsel fees of $98,384.01 for time expended by its attorneys as a direct result of Sandvik’s lengthy pattern of discovery delay, obfuscation, and misconduct. The District Court granted the petition for fees, but reduced it by 20% on the basis that the fee request cited prevailing market rates for attorneys performing “trial” litigation work as opposed to “discovery” litigation work. In support of its fee request, the Pittsburgh law firm Kilpatrick Townsend submitted to the court the published rates of Pittsburgh firms Reed Smith and K & L Gates. The Court reached its result as follows:

While the Court is fully cognizant of the vast experience and expertise of the Kilpatrick Townsend firm in the area of intellectual property, the Court cannot justify the rates advanced by Kilpatrick Townsend for this discovery dispute irrespective of its comparison to the published rates of Reed Smith and K & L Gates. Therefore, the Court will reduce the hourly rates sought by Kennametal across the board by twenty percent (20%), which the Court finds to be reasonable and fair and much more in line within the general billing rates of the Pittsburgh legal community for a discovery dispute.
Sandvik Intellectual Prop. AB v. Kennametal Inc., supra, at *6.