Judge Frank Nervo
Plaintiff moved for attorney fees under the terms of a residential lease after succeeding by default on a claim for return of a $6,400 security deposit and treble damages. Plaintiff’s counsel, Mayer Brown LLP, alleged it was due over $126,000, after waiving various costs, and noting it was not seeking to recover anything from their clients. The court found the items billed for, and the number of hours allegedly spent on them, were incredible, concluding, as such, that there was no basis to award any fee. Plaintiff submitted a 14 page statement for legal services which the court found demonstrated “much duplicated effort, research on the most basic and banal legal principles.” It stated many of the fees charged were duplicative and unnecessary for items a client could reasonably expect counsel charging $405 per hour would have prior knowledge of, and not requiring review or oversight by a more senior associate charging $615 per hour or a partner at $895 per hour. The court berated counsel for charging the “grossly unnecessary amount of time for…a simple matter,” including 52.5 hours for a simple opposition to an order to show cause seeking vacatur of a default judgment. Thus, it denied the motion for any attorney fees.