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Reduction of Attorney Fees Affirmed in 2nd Circuit

In a case decided on February 16, 2010, the 2nd Circuit affirmed a district court’s decision to award less than the requested attorney fees in a class action suit filed against Schenectady County, New York. Attorneys in the suit include Elmer Robert Keach, III, of Amsterdam, New York, Jason Rozger, and Bruce Menken with Bernbaum, Menken, Ben-Asher, & Bierman, LLP, of New York, New York, Jonathan Cuneo with Cuneo, Gilbert, & LaDuca in Washington, D.C., and Gary Mason with The Mason Law Firm, also in D.C.

The lawsuit, which was filed on June 29, 2004 by Nichole McDaniel and Lessie Davies, challenged strip search practices at the Schenectady County Jail. The various attorneys in the suit spent more than 1000 hours working the case over a three-year period, for which they requested 26% of the total settlement, or $650,000. On November 5, 2007, in its final decision and order approving the $2.5 million settlement of the suit, which was signed on July 31, 2006, the court granted attorney fees totaling only $461,031.21.

On appeal in the 2nd Circuit, the district court’s ruling in regard to attorney fees and expenses was judged to be within its discretion and typical of similar litigation. See: McDaniel, et al., v. Schenectady County, 595 F.3d 411 (2nd Cir. 2010).

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Related legal case

McDaniel v. Schenectady County