IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
September 10, 2010
ALLEN LORETZ, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
REGAL STONE, LTD., HANJIN SHIPPING, CO., LTD., SYNERGY MARITIME, LTD., FLEET MANAGEMENT LTD., AND JOHN COTA, IN PERSONAM, M/V COSCO BUSAN, THEIR ENGINES, TACKLE, EQUIPMENT, APPURTENANCES, FREIGHTS, AND CARGO, IN REM, DEFENDANTS.
ORDER REQUIRING SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATIONS RE: ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS
On September 3, 2010, the Court held a hearing on Plaintiffs' Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement. The Court approved the settlement. ECF No. 264. At the hearing, the Court requested billing records for in camera review.
Having reviewed the records, the Court determines that it needs more information before it can issue an order regarding attorneys' fees and costs. The Court requires a declaration from the law firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy ("CPM") summarizing how the firm arrived at its requested lodestar of $434,392.50. CPM has submitted to the Court its record of all the time spent in pursuit of the claims of all commercial fishermen. It is not clear to the Court how CPM segregated the time expended in pursuit of the Dungeness crab fishermen's claims. Also, while CPM provided the Court with a description of its litigation costs, the Court requires an explanation of why those costs were reasonable.
The Court requires a declaration from Audet & Partners LLP ("Audet") explaining how it reasonably expended 1955.65 attorney and paralegal hours working on this case. The Court notes that 8 counsel is expected to exercise "billing judgment," and to exclude 9 from a fee request hours that are "excessive, redundant, or 10 otherwise unnecessary." Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433-34 (1983). Here, the Court's review of the billing records indicates that Audet has not excluded any hours from its fee request of $890,185.45. Also, while Audet provided the Court with a description of its litigation costs, the Court requires a declaration from Audet explaining why those litigation costs were reasonable.
The required declarations from CPM and Audet should be sent directly to chambers for in camera review. CPM and Audet are not required to publicly file the declarations. The declarations shall be due in chambers no later than ten (10) days from the date of this Order. The hearing set for September 17, 2010 is taken off calendar.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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