Thursday, February 2, 2012

Failure to Staff Case With Associates Warrants Reduction of Recoverable Attorneys' Fees

The court granted plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 as part of a default judgment, but reduced the fees claim by 20%. "[A]ssociates — the level at which work on a matter of this type ordinarily is performed — accounted for only about 1.5% of the total time billed. This is an inefficient staffing strategy. . . . The creation and review of draft pleadings, letters and other work product by upper-echelon billing rate lawyers, the failure to use associate level staffing for ordinary services and drafting, the two amendments of the complaint, with two review processes, over a period of a few weeks compels the conclusion that the fees requested by [plaintiff] exceed the range of reasonableness for this kind ordinary patent litigation."

Mattress Safe, Inc. v. Just Encase My Mattress, Inc., 1-11-cv-02492 (GAND January 30, 2012, Order) (Duffey, J.)

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