United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
JON R. DEUTSCH, Plaintiff,
5433 SOUTH CONGRESS, LLC, Defendant.
PITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court is Plaintiff's Proposed Bill of Costs and
Motion for Attorney's Fees, filed October 10, 2016. (Dkt.
10). Having reviewed the motion and bill of costs, the
affidavit in support, the record, and the applicable law, the
court renders the following Order.
civil rights case, such as this, “a prevailing
plaintiff ordinarily is to be awarded attorney's fees in
all but special circumstances.” Dean v. Riser,
240 F.3d 505, 508 (5th Cir. 2001) (quoting Christiansburg
Garment Co. v. EEOC, 434 U.S. 412, 417 (1978)).
“Thus, a prevailing plaintiff in a civil rights action
is presumptively entitled to reasonable attorney's fees,
unless a showing of ‘special circumstances' is made
that would deem such an award unjust.” Dean,
240 F.3d at 508 (citation omitted).
court begins by determining a lodestar fee by multiplying the
number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation by a
reasonable hourly rate. See Green v. Administrators of
Tulane Educ. Fund, 284 F.3d 642, 661 (5th Cir. 2002).
The factors originally articulated in Johnson v. Georgia
Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-19 (5th Cir.
1974), should then be applied to determine whether the fees
requested are reasonable or whether an adjustment to the
original lodestar amount is appropriate. See id.;
see also Arthur Anderson & Co. v. Perry Equip.
Corp., 945 S.W.2d 812, 818 (Tex. 1997). The twelve
Johnson factors include: (1) time and labor
required; (2) novelty and difficulty of the issues; (3)
required skill; (4) whether other employment is precluded;
(5) the customary fee; (6) whether the fee is fixed or
contingent; (7) time limitations; (8) the amount involved and
the results obtained; (9) the attorney's experience,
reputation, and ability; (10) the undesirability of the case;
(11) the nature and length of the professional relationship
with the client; and (12) awards in similar cases.
Johnson, 488 F.2d at 717-19. However, the United
States Supreme Court has barred the use of the sixth factor.
See Walker v. U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban
Dev., 99 F.3d 761, 772 (5th Cir. 1996) (citing City
of Burlington v. Dague, 505 U.S. 557, 567 (1992)).
United States District Court for the Western District of
Texas, Austin Division, Plaintiff's counsel Omar Rosales
has commenced no fewer than 385 lawsuits on behalf of
Plaintiff Jon Deutsch against various individuals and
business entities alleging violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act. See 42 U.S.C. §§
12181-12189. The complaints for these lawsuits appear to be
based on a template, on which Rosales merely changes names of
defendants and other minor information, but nonetheless makes
numerous mistakes. In an affidavit attached as an exhibit to
his motion for attorney's fees and costs, Rosales states
that he worked a total of 11 hours on this case, and the rate
for his services is $500 per hour. He asserts that his hourly
rate is based on his “experience, expertise, special
qualifications, and being head of a law firm.”
court has reviewed and conducted an evaluation of the time
and billing records Rosales submitted. Although Rosales
attempts to document 11 hours of work on this case and
concludes 11 hours is not an unreasonable amount of time, the
court concludes that the time expended is unreasonable for
what basically has been a cookie-cutter exercise. The court
concludes that four hours is a reasonable amount of time for
Rosales to have spent on this case in this court.
court further concludes that Rosales's claimed hourly
rate of $500 is unreasonable, considering the nature of this
case. The case involves no novel or particularly difficult
issue of law and does not require any special skill of
Rosales. Further, the case is virtually identical to the
approximately 385 cases Rosales has filed in this court.
Prosecution of this case did not require research, legal
reasoning, or drafting expertise. The duplication and slight
modification of pleadings and motions performed for this case
do not require critical thinking or professional legal
court concludes that a reasonable hourly rate for the work
performed on this case is $250. The court will therefore
award Plaintiff attorney's fees in the amount of $1000.
also seeks reimbursement of expenses in the amount of $700. A
district court generally has wide discretion in awarding
expenses or costs; however, this discretion is not
unfettered. See Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons,
Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 441-42 (1987). The court's
discretion in taxing costs against an unsuccessful litigant
is limited to the following recoverable costs:
(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;
(2) Fees of the court reporter for all or any part of the
stenographic transcript necessarily obtained ...