674 F.3d 990 (8th Cir. 2012), 11-2130, Little Rock School Dist. v. Arkansas

Docket Nº:11-2130, 11-2304, 11-2305, 11-2336.
Citation:674 F.3d 990
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT, Appellant, v. State of ARKANSAS; Arkansas Department of Education, Appellees. Lorene Joshua; Leslie Joshua; Stacy Joshua; Wayne Joshua, Appellees, v. Pulaski County Special School District, Appellant, Arkansas Department of Education, Appellee. Alexa Armstrong; Karlos Armstrong; Khayyam Davis; Alvin Hudson; Tatia Hudson
Attorney:Christopher Heller, argued and on the brief, Clay Fendley, Jr., on the brief, Little Rock, AR, for appellant Little Rock School District in 11-2130. M. Samuel Jones, III, argued and on the brief, Little Rock, AR, for appellant Pulaski County Special School District in 11-2304 Stephen W. Jones, ar...
Judge Panel:Before WOLLMAN, MELLOY, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:March 26, 2012
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 990

674 F.3d 990 (8th Cir. 2012)

LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT, Appellant,

v.

State of ARKANSAS; Arkansas Department of Education, Appellees.

Lorene Joshua; Leslie Joshua; Stacy Joshua; Wayne Joshua, Appellees,

v.

Pulaski County Special School District, Appellant,

Arkansas Department of Education, Appellee.

Alexa Armstrong; Karlos Armstrong; Khayyam Davis; Alvin Hudson; Tatia Hudson; Lorene Joshua; Leslie Joshua; Stacy Joshua; Wayne Joshua; Sara Matthews; Derrick Miles; Janice Miles; John M. Miles; NAACP; Brian Taylor; Hilton Taylor; Parsha Taylor; Robert Willingham; Donna Stone, as class representative on behalf of minor children, Denise, Dennis and Danielle Stone; Dennis Stone, Appellees,

v.

North Little Rock School District, Appellant,

Arkansas Department of Education, Appellee.

North Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association; Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers; Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association; Pulaski Association of Support Staff; Katherine Knight, Appellants,

v.

State of Arkansas; Arkansas Department of Education, Appellees.

Nos. 11-2130, 11-2304, 11-2305, 11-2336.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

March 26, 2012

Submitted: Feb. 22, 2012.

Page 991

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 992

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 993

Christopher Heller, argued and on the brief, Clay Fendley, Jr., on the brief, Little Rock, AR, for appellant Little Rock School District in 11-2130.

M. Samuel Jones, III, argued and on the brief, Little Rock, AR, for appellant Pulaski County Special School District in 11-2304

Stephen W. Jones, argued and on the brief, Debby A. Linton, Mika Shadid Tucker, on the brief, Little Rock, AR, for appellant North Little Rock School District in 11-2305.

Scott Paris Richardson, argued and on the brief, Ali M. Brady, on the brief, Little Rock, AR, for appellees State of Arkansas (11-2130 and 11-2336) and Arkansas Department of Education (11-2130, 11-2304, 11-2305, 11-2336).

Damon T. Hewitt, argued and on the brief, New York, NY, John Payton, Debo P. Adegbile, Elise C. Boddie, Rachel M. Kleinman, New York, NY, John Walker, Austin Porter, Little Rock, AR, Robert Pressman, Lexington, MA, on the brief, for appellees Lesli Joshua, Stacy Joshua, Lorene Joshua and Wayne Joshua (11-2130, 11-2304, 11-2305, 11-2336), appellees Tatia Hudson, Alvin Hudson, Hilton Taylor, Alexa Armstrong, Sara Matthews, John M. Miles, Janice Miles, Brian Taylor, Derrick Miles, Robert Willingham, Khayyam Davis, NAACP, Parsha Taylor, Karlos Armstrong, Donna Stone and Dennis Stone (11-2305).

Before WOLLMAN, MELLOY, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM.

In our most recent encounter with the ongoing school desegregation process in the Little Rock, Arkansas metropolitan area, Pulaski County Special School District (" PCSSD" ) appealed the district court's partial denial of its petition for a

Page 994

declaration of unitary status, opposed by appellee intervenors representing the class of black children harmed by segregation (" Joshua Intervenors" ), while Little Rock School District (" LRSD" ) appealed the district court's decision to terminate certain funding obligations of the State of Arkansas through its Department of Education (collectively, " the State" ). We affirmed the partial denial of PCSSD's petition for unitary status and vacated the portion of the order terminating the State's funding obligations due to the lack of notice and a hearing on that issue. See Little Rock Sch. Dist. v. Arkansas, 664 F.3d 738 (8th Cir.2011). In the matter now before us, the Joshua Intervenors and LRSD each seek attorney's fees and costs associated with those appeals as prevailing parties under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and 28 U.S.C. § 1920. For the reasons discussed below, we grant in part the motions for costs and attorney's fees, subject to certain modifications.

I. LRSD

LRSD seeks attorney's fees for the two attorneys who prosecuted its appeal of the termination of state funding. According to LRSD's detailed affidavits, attorney Christopher Heller devoted 228.5 hours to the appeal. LRSD seeks compensation for those hours at Mr. Heller's typical billing rate of $300 per hour, although " it has long been [his] practice" to represent LRSD at a reduced rate and, in fact, he charged LRSD $200 per hour for his work in this case. In addition, attorney Clay Fendley devoted 151.3 hours to the appeal. LRSD seeks compensation for those hours at Mr. Fendley's typical billing rate of $160 per hour, although he customarily represents public entities at a reduced rate and, in fact, charged LRSD $120 per hour for his work in this case. Finally, LRSD also seeks $1,421.66 in copying costs, filing fees, and expenses associated with Mr. Heller's attendance at oral argument plus $152.50 in expenses associated with Mr. Fendley's attendance at oral argument. LRSD thus seeks $94,332 in total fees and costs.

In opposition, the State first contends that the award of attorney's fees should be reduced by a large percentage because LRSD achieved only partial or limited success. See Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 436, 103 S.Ct. 1933, 76 L.Ed.2d 40 (1983) (" If ... a plaintiff has achieved only partial or limited success, the product of hours reasonably expended on the litigation as a whole times a reasonable hourly rate may be an excessive amount." ). The State suggests that LRSD prevailed only in a limited fashion on appeal because we held solely that...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP