Minnesota Litigator covered the protracted and hard-fought battle of Ellen Ewald vs. the Royal Norwegian at some length, which culminated in U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Nelson’s (D. Minn.) 191-page findings of fact and conclusions of law by Judge Nelson and a win for Plaintiff Ewald.
The Equal Pay Act provides for an award of “a reasonable attorneys’ fee” to a victorious plaintiff. In Plaintiff Ewald’s case, Judge Nelson found $1,773,719.05 in attorney’s fees to have been reasonable (plus $209,973.61 in costs, plus $114,267.31). For lawyers who seek awards of attorneys’ fees, Judge Nelson’s order should be required reading. Note that plaintiff’s counsel marked down her bills repeatedly in light of circumstances, such as the replacement of the lead paralegal on the case (because the previous paralegal left for a job in the public sector). Congratulations to Engelemeier & Umanah!
Here’s a related question: if a statute provides for an award of “a reasonable attorneys’ fee,” should a lawyer be able to recover the cost of computer research as well? As “costs”? or As a part of “reasonable attorneys’ fees”?