United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
ST. LOUIS EFFORT FOR AIDS, et al., Plaintiffs,
CHLORA LINDLEY-MYERS, Director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration, Defendant. Timekeeper Total Total: Total: $ 312, 341.30
ORDER AND OPINION (1) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES, AND (2)
GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFFS'
SUPPLEMENTAL MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES
D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
are Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorneys' Fees (Doc.
#69), and Plaintiffs' Supplemental Motion for
Attorneys' Fees (Doc. #92). For the following reasons,
Plaintiffs' motions are granted in part and denied in
filed this lawsuit, seeking to enjoin certain provisions of
Missouri's Health Insurance Marketplace Innovation Act
(“HIMIA”) on Supremacy Clause, First Amendment
grounds, and Due Process grounds. Doc. #1. The Court
preliminarily enjoined the HIMIA provisions on Supremacy
Clause/preemption grounds. Doc. #36. Defendant appealed the
April 2015, the Eighth Circuit found Plaintiffs were likely
to succeed on the merits of their claim that the HIMIA
provisions regulating advice and information organizations
could provide were preempted by the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), but Plaintiffs were
not likely to succeed on their claim that the HIMIA remedial
provision was facially vague. St. Louis Effort for AIDS
v. Huff, 782 F.3d 1016 (8th Cir. 2015). The matter was
affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
remanded, Plaintiffs sought summary judgment on its claims
that certain Missouri statutes were preempted by the ACA, and
asked the Court to permanently enjoin implementation of those
statutes. Doc. #60. The Court granted Plaintiffs' motion.
Doc. #65. Thereafter, Plaintiffs sought recovery of $440,
514.90 in attorneys' fees, $2, 752.17 in expenses, and
$1, 048.00 in costs. Doc. #69. On August 19, 2016, the Court
denied Plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees and
expenses, but taxed costs of $800 in favor of Plaintiffs.
Doc. #77. In denying the request for attorneys' fees, the
Court found Plaintiffs' First Amendment claims, which are
fee-generating claims, did not arise from the same nucleus of
operative facts as the preemption claims, which are not
fee-generating claims. Id. Further, the facts
associated with Plaintiff's First Amendment claims were
not developed or presented to the Court because it decided
the matter on Plaintiffs' preemption claims. Id.
appealed the Court's August 19, 2016 Order to the Eighth
Circuit. Doc. #79. In December 2017, the Eighth Circuit
issued its determination that Plaintiffs' First Amendment
claims and preemption claims arose from a common nucleus of
operative fact, and therefore, Plaintiffs were entitled to
recover attorneys' fees. Doc. #86-1. The Eighth Circuit
reversed this Court's decision, and remanded the matter.
remand, the Court directed the parties to file a joint
proposed briefing schedule. Doc. #91. Plaintiff filed a
supplemental motion seeking $73, 284.67 in attorneys'
fees associated with their appeal. Doc. #92. Defendant filed
additional opposition to Plaintiffs' initial motion for
attorneys' fees (Doc. #69), as well as opposition to
Plaintiffs' supplemental motion (Doc. #96). Neither party
proposed a briefing schedule, ostensibly agreeing the Court
should consider the briefing associated with Plaintiffs'
two motions for attorney's fees. The Court, in light of
the Eighth Circuit's decision, reconsiders
Plaintiffs' initial motion for attorneys' fees (Doc.
#69), and considers Plaintiffs' supplemental motion for
attorneys' fees (Doc. #92).
Court has discretion to award reasonable attorneys' fees
to a prevailing party in a section 1983 case. 42 U.S.C.
§ 1988(b). “The starting point in determining
attorney fees is the lodestar, which is calculated by
multiplying the number of hours reasonably expended by the
reasonable hourly rates.” Fish v. St. Cloud State
Univ., 295 F.3d 849, 851 (8th Cir. 2002) (citing
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983)). The
requesting party “bears the burden of establishing an
accurate and reliable factual basis for an award of
attorneys' fees” and submitting “evidence
supporting the hours worked and rates claimed.”
Philipp v. ANR Freight Sys., Inc., 61 F.3d 669, 675
(8th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted).
determine the lodestar amount, courts consider several
factors, including but not limited to, time and labor
required; novelty and difficulty of legal questions; required
skill to handle the case; preclusion of other employment by
the attorney; customary fee for similar work in the
community; degree of success or results obtained; experience,
reputation, and ability of the attorney; and awards in
similar cases. See Phillips v. Mo., No. 97-CV-748,
2000 WL 33910092, at *1 (W.D. Mo. Mar. 29, 2000) (citations
omitted). Plaintiffs addressed these factors in both motions
for attorneys' fees. Defendant objected to the hourly
rate charged by Plaintiffs' counsel, the number of hours
billed, the number of attorneys who worked on the matter, and
excessive time billed for tasks.
seek recovery of hourly rates ranging from $223 to $540 for
attorneys, and hourly rates of $121 and $122 for paralegals.
In support of their request, Plaintiffs submitted
declarations from several attorneys who worked on this
matter. Jay Angoff served as lead counsel for Plaintiffs.
Angoff, who is a partner at Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, located
in Washington, D.C., was admitted to practice law in 1978.
Among other things, Angoff served as Director of the Office
of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the United
States Department of Health and Human Services, and also
served as the Director of the Missouri Department of