STIPULATION AND ORDER TO PAY PLAINTIFFS INTERIM FEES AND TO STAY PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL PAYMENT OF REASONABLE FEES FOR WORK PERFORMED BY NONPARALEGALS DURING 2009 UNTIL THE RESOLUTION OF PEREZ V. CATE, APPEAL 09-17185
Plaintiffs and Defendants STIPULATE as follows:
1. Pursuant to the Coleman Periodic Fees Order, "Plaintiffs will file a yearly motion to compel payment of disputed items, if necessary, not later than sixty (60) days after the parties meet and confer with respect to the statement covering the fourth quarter of each year." March 19, 1996 Stipulation and Order for Periodic Collection of Attorneys' Fees and Costs (attached as Appendix A). The parties have already stipulated to stay all attorneys' fees, costs and expense matters related to the Three-Judge Panel and related appeals until October 1, 2010. Coleman Docket 3801. The only remaining, disputed issues from 2009 are: (1) Defendants' refusal to pay for any work performed by staff who are not "paralegals" as defined by California Business & Professions Code § 6450, and; (2) Defendants' refusal to pay more than $135 per hour or $82.50 per hour for paralegal work on the case.
2. On May 26, 2010, this Court issued an order adopting the parties' stipulation to stay plaintiffs' motion to compel regarding the rate to be paid to paralegals pending final resolution of Perez, et al. v. Cate, et al., Court of Appeals Docket No. 09-17185, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, including any petitions for panel or en banc rehearing, or final resolution in the United States Supreme Court (hereinafter "Perez appeal"). Coleman Docket 3851. The parties agreed, however, that plaintiffs would move to compel based on defendants' refusal to pay any fees for work performed by nonparalegal litigation assistants. Id.
3. Plaintiffs now withdraw their motion to compel payment for work performed by nonparalegal litigation assistants (Coleman Docket Nos. 3871-3877), as defendants agree to pay these fees at a reduced rate. The parties agree to stay plaintiffs' motion regarding the final rate defendants will pay nonparalegal litigation assistants pending final resolution of the Perez appeal, including any petitions for panel or en banc rehearing, or final resolution in the United States Supreme Court.
4. In the interim, defendants agree to pay nonparalegal litigation assistant fees at the hourly rate of $82.50. For 2009, defendants will pay plaintiffs, within 30 days of the passage of the California state budget for 2010/2011, $8,728.50 for 105.8 hours that defendants previously refused to compensate. In so doing, plaintiffs do not waive and will enforce their right to interest in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Coleman Periodic Fees order. Nothing in this Stipulation may be deemed a waiver or concession of any party's legal arguments regarding this issue.
5. If the Ninth Circuit rules in the Perez appeal that the Prison Litigation Reform Act governs paralegal fees, then the PLRA also governs nonparalegal litigation assistant fees.
6. If the requested stay is granted, the parties will meet and confer regarding the nonparalegal rate issue, as well as the paralegal rate issue, within 10 days after the mandate issues in the Perez appeal. If the parties are still unable to resolve this issue, plaintiffs will re-file a motion to compel within 60 days of the completion of the meet and confer.
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