United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
PAMELA HERRINGTON, both individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated persons, Plaintiff,
WATERSTONE MORTGAGE CORPORATION, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
BARBARA B. CRABB DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is a motion for attorney fees and costs filed by
plaintiff Pamela Herrington, both individually and on behalf
of all other similarly situated persons. Plaintiffs have
previously obtained a decision from this court confirming the
arbitration award (with one modification relating to service
fees), attorney fees and costs in the amount of $3, 298, 851
and an incentive fee of $20, 000 for plaintiff Herrington.
Dkt. #135. Plaintiffs are moving for entry of an enforceable
judgment against defendant, as well as reimbursement of the
fees and costs incurred for the work done by their counsel in
this court, in the amount of $101, 997.50 in additional fees
and $870.62 in additional costs.
Waterstone Mortgage Corporation objects to four aspects of
the award, contending that it should be reduced by the
• $22, 638.00 for time spent by plaintiff on an
unsuccessful motion for sanctions;
• $4, 689.00 for 12.9 hours related to work performed
before July 5, 2017, when the arbitrator issued a decision
and partial final award on attorney fees and costs;
• $3, 287.50 for 13.4 hours spent on clerical tasks,
such as updating the firm website, transferring documents
from ECF and making related social media posts for
• a reduction of 20% of the $71, 383.00 plaintiffs seek
for 168.8 hours spent on work performed after the
arbitration, principally on two motions: one to
confirm/vacate and one in opposition to defendant's
motion to stay on the ground that the fees sought are
Unsuccessful Motion for Sanctions
and costs are routinely available to prevailing parties in
Fair Labor Standards Act cases such as this one, Johnson
v. GDF, Inc., 669 F.3d 927, 930 (7th Cir. 2012), but it
does not follow that prevailing parties are entitled to
reimbursement for all of the fees and costs they have
incurred. As a general rule when determining attorney fee
awards allowed by statute, courts eliminate hours spent on
unsuccessful claims and reduce claims that seem excessive.
case, plaintiffs moved for sanctions on the ground that all
of defendant's arguments against confirmation of the
arbitrator's award were frivolous. Although I denied the
motion for sanctions in a previous order, plaintiffs maintain
now that they are entitled to reimbursement for the costs
they incurred in bringing the motion, because it “was
reasonable when made.” Plts.'s Br., dkt. #156, at
3. They argue that such an award is in keeping with the
arbitrator's practice during the arbitration proceeding
to award costs to plaintiffs for work necessitated by errors
made by defendant and, in addition, that the general rule for
attorney fee awards is not to reject a claim for fees or
penalize counsel just because some claims are denied by the
court, so long as the claims are related. Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 436 and n.11 (1983).
noted in denying plaintiff's motion for sanctions, dkt. #
133, it was a close question whether the motion should be
granted. Given the closeness of the question, I am not
inclined to reduce plaintiffs' claim for attorney fees by
the amount of $22, 638.00 for time spent on the motion. It
was not unreasonable for plaintiffs to bring it.
not necessary to consider the hourly rates to which
plaintiffs' counsel is entitled. Those rates were
confirmed by the arbitrator without objection by defendant.
Work Performed ...