The Johnson Factors Discussed in Detail:Moore v. Southtrust

When Can You Recover Them and How? Costs Under 28 USC 1920, Expert Witness Fees, and Other Non-Damage Awards;
Recoverable Costs Are Governed by 28 USC 1920 however Expert Witness Fees Are Not. There are various non-damage awards that you need to understand and how to seek them.
David A. Szwak

The Johnson Factors Discussed in Detail:Moore v. Southtrust

Postby David A. Szwak » Sun Nov 06, 2005 10:38 pm

Moore v. Southtrust Corp.
--- F.Supp.2d ----, 2005 WL 2412870

The Fourth Circuit has held that a district court shall determine the reasonableness of attorney's fees by applying the factors set forth by the Fifth Circuit in Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-19 (5th Cir.1974). Barber v. Kimbrell's, Inc., 577 F.2d 216, 226 (4th Cir.) cert. denied, 439 U.S. 934, 99 S.Ct. 329, 58 L.Ed.2d 330 (1978). However, the district court is "not even required to recite each of the twelve relevant factors in its fee decision." Environmental Tech. Council v. State, 2000 WL 709573 (4th Cir.2000) 2000 U.S.App. LEXIS 12137 (citing Alexander v. Tyler, 1999 WL 305029 (4th Cir. May 14, 1999), 1999 U.S.App. LEXIS 9180). The Johnson factors include:
(1) the time and labor expended;
(2) the novelty and difficulty of the questions raised;
(3) the skill required to properly perform the legal services rendered;
(4) the attorney's opportunity costs in pressing the instant litigation;
(5) the customary fee for like work;
(6) the attorney's expectations at the outset of the litigation;
(7) the time limitations imposed by the client or circumstances;
(8) the amount in controversy and the results obtained;
(9) the experience, reputation and ability of the attorney;
(10) the undesirability of the case within the legal community in which the suit arose;
(11) the nature and length of the professional relationship between attorney and client; and (12) attorneys' fees awards in similar cases. Barber, 577 F.2d at 226.

The district court should consider these factors when "determining the reasonable rate and the reasonable hours" for attorney's fees. Daly v. Hill, 790 F.2d 1071, 1078 (4th Cir.1986). The court of appeals explains that "[a] fee based upon reasonable rates and hours is presumed to be fully compensatory without producing a windfall." Daly, 790 F.2d at 1078. In "exceptional circumstances," this presumptively fair lodestar figure may be adjusted to account for results obtained and the quality of representation. Id. The court of appeals shall "review the reasonableness of the district court's calculation of amount of attorney's fees under an abuse of discretion standard." Hyatt, 6 F.3d at 256 (citing Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 571, 108 S.Ct. 2541, 101 L.Ed.2d 490 (1988)); United Food & Commercial Workers v. Marval Poultry Co., 876 F.2d 346, 350-51 (4th Cir.1989).

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