Hinshaw writes today about a federal worker’s compensation attorney fee issue which applies to all attorney fee disputes: block billing and 1/4 hour minimum billing, both of which led to a reduction by the court:
The Ninth Circuit reviewed the guidelines applicable to court-awarded attorney fees in ERISA litigation. Among other things, the court upheld a 20 percent reduction based on the attorney’s block billing and a 20 percent reduction based on the attorney’s use of quarter-hour minimum billing segments. On the other hand, the court held that it is appropriate for a fee award to include consideration of the attorney’s delay in receipt of fees. More generally, the court held that the appropriate hourly rate must be one that is charged, on an hourly basis, by equivalently skilled practitioners and that the time spent on various litigation-related activities must not be excessive. "