United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Response to
Court Order Granting Motion for Attorneys' Fees. (ECF No.
189) On, July 7, 2017, the Court granted Defendant's
Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs, granting
reasonable fees to Defendant as the
prevailing party. (ECF No. 185) The Court also ordered
Defendant to submit itemizations of attorneys' fees and
costs for the dates after May 28, 2015. (Id.) In
response, Defendant filed 66 pages of itemized attorneys'
fees for a total of 8 attorneys who worked on the case, 119
pages of attorneys' fees invoices, and 28 pages of
invoices pertaining to costs. (ECF Nos. 189-1, 189-2, 189-3)
In all, Defendant requests an award of $199, 689.50 for
attorneys' fees and $11, 725.95 in costs.
review of Defendant's response, it appears counsel for
Defendant has confused reasonable
with all attorneys' fees for
the applicable time period. Defendant has thus place the
Court in the position to be arbiter of what fees are
reasonable within the spirit of 42 U.S.C. § 12205. As
stated in the Court's previous Order granting
attorneys' fees, under the ADA, a court, in its
discretion, '"may allow the prevailing party, other
than the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee,
including litigation expenses, and costs . ...'"
(ECF No. 185 p. 2, quoting 42 U.S.C. § 12205). The Court
also noted that a prevailing defendant is not automatically
entitled to an award of fees, and that fees are awarded in
narrow circumstances. (Id. at pp. 2-3)
purpose of an award of attorneys' fees to the prevailing
defendant is to '"protect defendants from burdensome
litigation having no legal or factual basis' as this
policy 'would discourage groundless lawsuits.'"
Steelman v. Rib Crib No. 18, No. 11-3433-CV-S-RED,
2012 WL 4026686, at *5 (W.D. Mo. Sept. 12, 2012) (quoting
Young v. New Process Steel, LP, 419 F.3d 1201,
1205-06 (11th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted)).
However, the Eighth Circuit has also acknowledged that an
award of attorney's fees might have a chilling effect
upon the filing of meritorious claims. Flowers v.
Jefferson Hosp. Ass 'n, 49 F.3d 391, 392 (8th Cir.
1995); see also Whitson v. LMServs., Inc., No.
4;OICVI744 SNL, 2003 WL 685873, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 20,
2003) (stating that courts must always be "mindful of
the serious chilling effect that an award of attorney's
fees might have on the filing of meritorious claims").
request for nearly $200, 000 in attorneys' fees would
undoubtedly have such chilling effect on future meritorious
law suits. Thus, the Court finds the request to be
unreasonable per se and will reduce the award to an amount
the Court deems reasonable in light of the contentious
history in this case. Upon thorough consideration of the
Defendant's response and attached itemizations, the
Plaintiffs response in opposition, and Defendant's reply,
the Court will reduce the amount of attorneys' fees to
$25, 000. In light of the fact that Defendant required an
excess of attorneys to work on a case it deemed frivolous,
the Court finds that this amount strikes the balance between
discouraging frivolous law suits and creating a chilling
effect for future ADA plaintiffs in accordance with 42 U.S.C.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED
that Judgment be entered in favor of favor of Defendant Young
Men's Christian Association of Greater St. Louis, and
against Plaintiff Matina Koester, et al., for attorneys'
fees in the amount of Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($25,
000.00). Dated this 4th day of May, 2018.
 The Court found that May 28, 2015 was
the date when it became clear that the lawsuit was
groundless. (ECF No. 185 p. 6)
 The Order of July 7, 2017 entered an
award of $11, 725.95 in costs. (ECF No. 185 p. 7) Thus, the
Court will only address the motion for attorneys'
 For instance, the itemized list of
Defendant's attorneys' fees indicates many hours
devoted to and billed for a Sunshine Request to the City of
Clayton, an entity unrelated to this litigation, to show that
Plaintiff "harassed other camps with similar
tactics." (Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Mot. for Fees pp.
2 n.l, 13-14 and related exhibits, ECF No. 168; Def.'s
Response Ex. 1 pp. 55-58, ECF No. 189-1) Also included in the
list of fees are several ...