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$1M in fees awarded in N.Y. ERISA case ALBANY, N.Y. — A U.S. district judge has awarded more than $1 million in legal fees and expenses to lawyers in Syracuse, N.Y., and Washington, D.C., who successfully prosecuted a Teamsters’ ERISA case against United Parcel Service. In New York State Teamsters Conference Pension & Retirement Fund v. United Parcel Service, 5:98-CV-1902, Chief Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. of the Northern District of New York awarded a total of $1,067,541 in fees and upheld the prevailing district rate of $175 per hour for the most experienced attorneys. He also approved a $200-per-hour fee for a lawyer with particular expertise, and approved quarter-hour billing, even though his counterparts in the Southern and Eastern District courts have articulated a clear preference for tenths-of-an-hour billing. Moreover, the judge reimbursed travel time at half the hourly rate and maintained the local policy of disallowing reimbursement for computerized legal research costs. Judge Scullin’s 20-page fee award ruling, which was signed late last week, covers a broad spectrum of issues that often come up when prevailing attorneys seek the compensation they are statutorily entitled to. The ruling stemmed from a complaint under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 alleging that the defendants neglected to fully contribute to health and pension funds. After a lengthy battle and bench trial, the plaintiffs prevailed. The verdict is on appeal at the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Plaintiffs attorneys Jonathan Rose, then of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Washington, D.C., and Michael Sciotti of Hancock & Estabrook in Syracuse, sought fees and expenses totaling more than $1.6 million. — New York Law Journal

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