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Attorney Hourly Rates in Retaliation Claim Reduced Only Through Clear and Concise Evidence

01 Apr 2003

In this retaliation claim, the successful plaintiff petitioned for attorneys' fees as entitled under Title VII.  The attorneys had presented hourly fees ranging from $250 for court time to $175 per hour.  The trial court reduced the attorney fee demand as being too high, finding that Southern Illinois rates ranged from $150 per hour for court time to $100 per hour.  The Seventh Circuit vacated this ruling finding that when a trial court reduces either the rate or time offered by an attorney, it must provide a clear and concise statement why.  This ruling was based upon the recognition that an attorney is not barred from charging more than the community's average if there is a basis for doing so.  Mathur v. Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University, No. 01-3336, 317 F.3d 738 (7th Cir. Jan. 24, 2003).

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