12.28.2006

S.D. Fla. Notes Split Re Whether Secretarial Work Is Compensable as Part of Attorneys' Fees Awards

Per For Play Limited v. Bow to Stern Maintenance, Inc., Slip Copy, 2006 WL 3662339 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 06, 2006):

Pursuant to the lodestar method, the Court must multiply the number of hours that Plaintiff's counsel reasonably worked by the prevailing market rate for his work. . . .

After the Court has calculated the lodestar, "the [C]ourt has the opportunity to adjust the lodestar to account for other considerations that have not yet figured in the computation, the most important being the relation of the results obtained to the work done." . . .

Defendant . . . objects to Plaintiff's request for fees for: 2.6 hours of Mr. Casano's work which Defendant contends was "secretarial work . . . ," "in excess of 6.7 hours . . . ," of which allegedly "is secretarial time . . . ," id. at 7; and additional "hours which were purely administrative in nature . . . ," id. As a preliminary matter, the Court must determine whether Plaintiff would be entitled to any compensation for clerical or secretarial work that Mr. Casano performed. There is a split of authority regarding whether clerical or secretarial work is compensable. Compare, e.g., Walker v. United States Dep't of Housing and Urban Development, 99 F.3d 761, 770 (5th Cir.1996) ("Clerical work, however, should be compensated at a different rate from legal work."), with, e.g., Surge v. Massanari, 155 F.Supp.2d 1301, 1307 (M.D.Ala.2001) ("requests for . . . non-compensable clerical tasks [are] inappropriate").

Consistent with what appears to be the great majority of courts within the Eleventh Circuit that have considered that issue, this Court concludes that Plaintiff is not entitled to any reimbursement for clerical or secretarial tasks that Plaintiff's counsel performed.

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