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|
Submitted: Feb. 22, 2012.
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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
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.
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...
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