By: Daily Record Staff//July 11, 2013
By: Daily Record Staff//July 11, 2013//
U.S. District Court, WDNY
Defense Counsel’s Actions
Halecki v. Empire Portfolios, Inc.
Background: The plaintiff brought an action against the defendant alleging that its debt collection practices were aggressive and in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Specifically, he alleged that he was intimidated by mailings and telephone calls, despite his requests for them to cease contact with him. The action was settled and the plaintiff was awarded attorney’s fees. The defendants moved to oppose the plaintiff’s request for $51,514 in fees and costs, arguing that the hourly rate is unreasonable.
Ruling: The District Court granted the motion for attorney’s fees. The court found that the disproportion between the plaintiff’s legal fees and the amount recovered was due in part to the defendants’ zealous defense of the case and the sluggish response to discovery demands, requiring the plaintiff to initiate a motion to compel. By the time the case was settled, the plaintiff was fully ready for trial.
Persis S. Yu and Peter O’Brien Dellinger of the Empire Justice Center for the plaintiff; Daniel R. Ryan of Smith, Sovik, Kendrick & Sugnet for the defendants