Friday, November 9, 2012

Block-Billing Results in 20% Reduction in Fee Award

The court denied in part defendants' motion for discovery sanctions based on defendants' lack of supporting documentation and description of charges. "[B]lock-billing is rampant in [defendants'] motion. Throughout the declaration, [defendants] lump[] together various tasks by attorneys, separating the hours only by motion. Perhaps all of the hours were well-spent in efficient pursuit of investigating and drafting the motions. Or reveal inefficiencies in the work. Or reflect nothing more than a best guess by [defense] counsel at how many hours they spent compiling three motions amidst the immense size and scope of this case. But the court cannot make that determination from the request as presented because of the inherent ambiguity in block-billing, which is why block-billing is a disfavored format for fee requests. . . . Because it cannot evaluate the reasonableness of the hours, and in light of the evidence that block-billing inflates hours by between 10% and 30%, the court trims 20% from the block-billed hours in [defendants'] request."

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et. al., 5-11-cv-01846 (CAND November 7, 2012, Order) (Grewal, M.J.).

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