United States District Court, S.D. California
SELVIN O. CARRANZA, CDCR #T-67780, Plaintiff,
EDMUND G. BROWN, Jr., Governor, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF'S EX
PARTE APPLICATION FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPERT FEES [DKT. NO.
Gonzalo P. Curiel United States District Judge
Selvin O. Carranza, by and through Morgan, Lewis &
Bockius LLP (“Morgan Lewis”), court-appointed pro
bono counsel for Mr. Carranza in the above-captioned action,
has applied to this Court ex parte for reimbursement of
out-of-pocket expert witnesses expenses Morgan Lewis will
necessarily incur in the prosecution of this action. Morgan
Lewis currently anticipates that expert witness costs in this
case will total approximately $29, 775.
Local Civil Rules governing the Pro Bono Fund provides that
the “Pro Bono Fund must be used for reimbursement of
out-of-pocket expenses, necessarily incurred by
court-appointed attorneys representing indigents pro bono in
civil cases not covered by the Criminal Justice Act, provided
that approval for such expenses is first obtained from . . .
the district judge assigned the case. . . Application for
such funds must be approved by the court.” Local Civ.
R. 83.8(a)(2)(a). The Local Rules provide that pro bono
counsel obtain prior approval of any request for
reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses necessarily
incurred. Id. Expert witness fees may be recovered
if they are “necessarily incurred” and
reasonable. Roberts v. Hensley, No.
15cv1871-LAB(BLM), 2019 WL 2618124, at *2 (S.D. Cal. June 25,
Plaintiff's pro bono counsel seeks pre-authorization of
$29, 775 for out-of-pocket expert witness expenses that will
be incurred for two experts. First, Plaintiff seeks
reimbursement for expert fees of Dr. July Ho, a licensed and
triple board-certified Clinical Neuropsychologist who is a
tenured Associate Professor at Pepperdine University and a
published author. (Dkt. No. 203-1, Mundell Decl. ¶ 5.)
Dr. Ho will administer a psychological evaluation of
Plaintiff and provide a written expert report. (Id.
¶ 6.) Dr. Ho will also educate the trier of fact about
the nature of Plaintiff's relevant mental health issues,
and CDCR policies concerning treatment of inmates with mental
health issues. (Id.) Her consulting rate is $375 per
hour for non-testifying work, and $650 per hour for
testimony. (Id. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff anticipates her
fees will total around $18, 375 which includes one day of trial
attendance and testimony (8 hours), deposition preparation (3
hours), one day of deposition testimony (7 hours), and time
spent reviewing the case, evaluating Plaintiff and writing
and expert report (20 hours). (Id.)
has also engaged William Adams, an expert on CDCR policies,
procedures and general prison information and has over 25
years of experience working with the CDCR. (Id.
¶ 8.) He will provide expert opinion “on
performance standards expected of correctional officers,
supervisors, managers, and non-peace officer staff members,
by reference to CDCR's rules, policies.”
(Id. ¶ 9.) His testimony will assist the trier
of fact in understanding the standard of conduct required of
correctional officers and whether Defendants complied with
CDCR policy when interacting with Plaintiff. (Id.)
Adam's consulting rate is $300 per hour. (Id.
¶ 10.) Plaintiff expects his fees will total around $11,
400 which includes one day of trial attendance and testimony
(8 hours), deposition preparation (3 hours), one day of
deposition testimony (7 hours), and time spent reviewing case
records, CDCR policies, incident reports, and writing an
expert report (20 hours). (Id.)
seeks pre-approval of reimbursement of up to $29,
for the costs associated with retaining the two experts.
While the Court finds that these experts are necessary, it
has concerns that the amount sought is excessive as this
large amount is not typically granted to pro bono counsel and
the Pro Bono Fund is a limited resource. For example, Dr.
Ho's fee of $650 per hour for trial testimony is
excessive in light of the fact she typically charges $375 per
hour for non-testifying work. See Roberts, 2019 WL
2618124, at *2 (reducing hourly rate of dental expert from
$475 per hour to $250 per hour).
the Court DENIES without prejudice Plaintiffs ex parte
application for pre-approval of reimbursement of expenses in
the amount of $29, 775 for out-of-pocket expert witness
expenses from the Court's Pro Bono Fund.
 According to the Court's
calculation based on the number of hours and Dr. Ho's
hourly fee, the approximate fees total $16, 450, not $18,
 According to the Court's
calculation, the total amounts to ...