United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS FEES AND COSTS
William T. Lawrence, United States District Court.
cause is before the Court on the Plaintiffs' motion for
attorneys fees and costs (Dkt. No. 43). The motion is
fully briefed, and the Court, being duly advised,
GRANTS the motion to the extent and for the
reasons set forth below.
August 31, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint for
Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, naming as Defendants the
Indiana Horse Racing Commission and representatives of the
Commission in their official capacities. Count I asserted a
claim for a declaratory judgment that the “claiming
jail” rule set forth in Title 71, IAC § 6.5-1-4(i)
(now Section 4(h)) violated the dormant Commerce Clause found
in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, as
well as the due process and equal protection clauses of the
Fourteenth Amendment. Counts II and III asserted claims for
injunctive relief under the Constitution and under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for these same violations.
October 21, 2016, the Plaintiffs filed their motion for
summary judgment on their Commerce Clause claims. On November
18, 2016, the Defendants sought an extension of time to
respond to Plaintiffs' Motion, which the Court granted.
On February 1, 2017, after obtaining written discovery from
the Plaintiffs, the Defendants filed a Response to the
Plaintiffs' motion, and the Defendants filed a
Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. The Plaintiffs filed a
reply on March 1, 2017. On March 31, 2017, the Plaintiffs
filed a Response to Defendants' Cross-Motion, and the
Defendants replied on April 21, 2017. The Court granted the
Plaintiffs' motion and denied the Defendants' motion
on September 20, 2017.
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d), Local Rule 54-1 and 42 U.S.C. §
1988, the Plaintiffs now request attorneys fees and costs of
$64, 823.52 and their recoverable costs beyond those already
sought in their Bill of Costs (Doc. No. 42) in the amount of
Civil Rights Attorneys Fees Awards Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C.
§ 1988, provides, in relevant part:
In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of section
1981, 1981a, 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1986 of this title . . .,
the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party
. . . a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs .
. . .
42 U.S.C. § 1988(b). Section 1988's
“overriding goal [is] to reimburse with a reasonable
attorneys' fee those who as ‘private attorneys
general' take it upon themselves to invoke and thereby
invigorate federal constitutional and statutory
rights.” Charles v. Daley, 846 F.2d 1057, 1063
(7th Cir. 1988). An award of attorneys fees thus both
“reimburses a plaintiff for ‘what it cos[t] [him]
to vindicate [civil] rights, ' and holds to account
‘a violator of federal law.'” Fox v.
Vice, 563 U.S. 826, 833 (2011) (citations omitted).
Violations of the dormant Commerce Clause are cognizable.
§ 1983. Nat'l Solid Waste Mgmt. Assoc. v.
Meyer, 63 F.3d 652, 662 n.11 (7th Cir. 1995) (citing
Dennis v. Higgins, 498 U.S. 439, 446 (1991)).
calculation of an attorney's fee award involves four
general steps: (1) establishment of a reasonable hourly rate;
(2) tabulation of attorney hours reasonably expended on the
case; (3) multiplication of these two numbers to reach a
“lodestar” figure; and (4) reduction of this
amount (where appropriate) to account for limited success.
Pennsylvania v. Delaware Valley Citizens' Council for
Clean Air, 478 U.S. 546, 564-65 (1986). A fee petitioner
is required to exercise billing judgment, that is, to submit
sufficient fee documentation with adequate explanation in
order to provide the court with a basis for evaluating the
claim and to submit a request for fees that is limited to
reasonable expenses and eliminates excessive, redundant, or
otherwise unnecessary time. Spegon v. Catholic Bishop of
Chicago, 175 F.3d 544, 550-52 (7th Cir. 1999). To assist
the court in fulfilling its obligation, the party seeking
fees bears the burden of proving the reasonableness of the
hours worked and the hourly rates claimed. Id. at
550 (citing Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 434
Defendants admit that the Plaintiffs were the prevailing
parties and are entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys
fees. However, the Defendants raise several objections to the
Plaintiffs' request. Each is addressed below.
Entry That Includes ...