Attorney criticized for his fees claim by federal judge

By John Breslin | May 28, 2018

A Pasadena attorney has been criticized by a federal judge over his claim for attorney fees and costs.

A Pasadena attorney has been criticized by a federal judge over his claim for attorney fees and costs.

Senior Judge Anthony Ishi, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, decided the fees requested by attorney Thomas P. Riley were not deserved.

Ishi reduced a request for $20,000 to $7,050. He denied fees for an unidentified administrative assistant, but had ruled that 47 hours of work conducted by a research attorney at $300 per - totaling $14,100 - was not unreasonable. 

The fees relate to a licensing suit against a Concord bar by J & J Sports Productions. Riley's firm acted for the sports production company, and won the claim that the defendants violated distribution rights. Damages were $7,500.

The court filing states that the plaintiff sought attorney fees totaling $19,855. Judge Ishi awarded fees of $7,050 and costs of $635.

The original request broke down as 6.55 hours at $500 per hour for Riley, 47 hours at $300 per hour for an unidentified research attorney, and 24.8 hours at $100 per hour for an unidentified administrative assistant.

"This Court (and other courts) has cautioned Mr. Riley regarding billing of clerical work using administrative assistants, lack of specificity in such billing by administrative assistants, and duplicative billing by Mr. Riley and his administrative assistant in the past," Ishi wrote.

He added, "Many of hours claimed by Mr. Riley are unreasonable, duplicative, or inadequately documented and should be reduced.

"Mr. Riley’s bill reflects considerable amounts of time reviewing communications to and from the court." 

He then awarded him $1,400 for four hours work.

Ishi then said 47 hours billed by the research for preparation of motions, replies, and supporting documents filed in this action is not unreasonable. He awarded $7,050 in attorney fees for all of those hours, though the correct total is, in fact, $14,100.

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