Famed Harvard law professor Arthur Miller helped Milberg get a class action remanded to state court, and then sought $995 an hour in fees for the improvident removal.
But Judge Scola says in
While the Court acknowledges Milberg’s fine work in representing Plaintiff, the Court notes that the Motion for Remand set forth only two arguments for remand and one for fees — none of which involved novel issues of law. Moreover, Plaintiff has submitted no evidence suggesting that any of the requested hourly billable rates are consistent with “the prevailing market rate in [South Florida] for similar services by lawyers of reasonably comparable skills, experience and reputation.”5 See Loranger, 10 F.3d at 781. Plaintiff filed this case in Florida, yet Plaintiff requests New York hourly rates, which are among the highest in the country. Hourly billing rates, however, must be based on the prevailing local market rate, not the billing rates in a geographically distinct market. Indeed, Plaintiff admits that “the average partner rate in Southern Florida in 2011 was $482 per hour and the average associate rate was $303 per hour.” Mot. at 6. The rates requested in the Motion are well above those that Plaintiff concedes are average for this jurisdiction.BTW, he cut the requested paralegal rate down from $325(!) an hour.
Upon review of the materials submitted and in consideration of the Court’s own knowledge of the local market, see Loranger, 10 F.3d at 781, the Court finds the following hourly rates reasonable: for Miller, Kaufman, and Polaszek, $500 per hour; for Snitnow and Quinn, $350 per hour; and for the paralegals, $125 per hour.
As it is, $36k for briefing a remand motion is a pretty fair fee.
Thanks to the tipster who passed this one along!