HVL argued that the bulk of the documents that Bracken reviewed and prepared were medical records not relevant to HVL's requests, since it had already conceded that Chaney was disabled for the purposes of the FMLA.
However, HVL did contest Chaney's status as a "qualified individual with a disability" under the ADA and asked for information about her medical history, Lancaster said.
"Chaney's status as a qualified individual under the ADA represents a significantly different inquiry than whether she has a 'serious medical condition' as defined by the FMLA," Lancaster said, citing the Eastern District of Pennsylvania's 2002 opinion in Peter v. Lincoln Technical Institute, which explains the difference.
Regarding three specific dates, totaling about 15 hours, Lancaster said, "because Chaney bears the burden to justify the hours expended, the 15 total hours attorney Bracken spent to review and produce documents and the 14 hours expended by his paralegal organizing and labeling those documents will be reduced by one-third. The remaining 16.3 hours Mr. Bracken spent on discovery-related tasks is reasonable and will not be reduced."
Lancaster sided with Chaney on a couple of minor issues two entries of 0.1 hours for "inter-office communication between Mr. Bracken and a paralegal" and half an hour for a paralegal to hand-deliver Chaney's charge to the EEOC.
HVL had argued that it was "inappropriate" for Bracken to submit the time he spent conferring with a paralegal and characterized the hand delivery as "needless," according to the opinion.
"The hand delivery of crucial documents is not unusual, and the court will not penalize counsel for choosing not to mail the time-sensitive charge," Lancaster said.
However, on another small charge, Lancaster nicked an hour and a half from the three hours that Chaney had submitted for a paralegal's time for filing documents.
Lancaster agreed with HVL that Bracken didn't need two hours to prepare for a Rule 16 conference and shaved an hour off of the submitted time.
"Given Mr. Bracken's intimate involvement in this case, the court fails to see why it would require nearly two hours to prepare to discuss the case," Lancaster said.