Long a question in legal fee cases is whether the cost of electronic legal research [monthly, or per case] is part of the general overhead of a lawfirm, or a cost which may be awarded to the successful attorney?
Here is a case: Insinga v. Cooperative Centrale Raiffeisen Boerenleenbank B.A., 03 Civ. 7775
Decided: March 12, 2007 District Judge Richard J. Holwell U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK [case viewable by subscription] which holds that electronic legal research costs are recoverable in the 2d Circuit.
Here is a quote from the case. Note that the court also awards fees for bringing the motion for fees.
"With respect to costs, although plaintiff has outlined the types of costs for which he requests reimbursement, he has not yet submitted figures to the Court. Defendants have reserved their right to respond to plaintiff’s specific requests after he submits a bill to the Court. In the meantime, defendants object to one category of plaintiff’s request: reimbursement for electronic legal research. The Second Circuit has made clear, though, that "charges for such online research may properly be included in a fee award." Arbor Hill Concerned Citizens Neighborhood Ass’n v. County of Albany, 369 F.3d 91, 98 (2d Cir. 2004); see also James, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5401, at *67 ("Legal research costs are recoverable in an application for attorneys’ fees."); Raniola v. Bratton, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7199 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (awarding cost of Westlaw research because, "absent the use of computer research, the awarded attorney’s fees would probably be larger" (internal citation omitted)).
The Court therefore directs plaintiff to submit a bill detailing the costs for which it seeks reimbursement, including electronic legal research, within thirty days of this Opinion. The Court also grants plaintiff leave at that time to submit a supplemental motion for the legal services rendered after the date this motion was first served, which, among other things, will presumably include records for time spent defending this motion and preparing plaintiff’s opposition to defendant’s unsuccessful motion for judgment as a matter of law. See also Weyant v. Okst, 198 F.3d 311, 314 (2d Cir. 1999) (permitting compensation for time spent after the initial fee application, including time spent in preparing and defending an application for fees). "