CHICAGO (CN) - A federal judge awarded $3.6 million in attorney's fees and $84,000 in costs for a civil action against the City of Chicago that dates back to 1969. The lawsuit, originally filed by Michael Shakman and Paul Lurie, claimed the city conditioned employment on an applicant's support of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization.
Since 1969, the city has agreed to several Consent Decrees and Compliance Plans as a result of the lawsuit. Numerous actions have been brought forth concerning the city's adherence to these guidelines. U.S. District Judge Wayne R. Anderson issued the ruling on attorney's fees, which is 30 percent of the $12 million settlement to which the city agreed.
The attorney's fees are for monitoring and enforcing the 1972 and 1983 Consent Decrees that have been entered into the case and cover work done from Jan. 1, 1998 to May 31, 2007.
The plaintiffs originally asked for $3.8 million in fees and costs, including $619,000 in interest. Anderson ruled that $3.6 million, at 30 percent of the settlement total, was fair considering the complexity of the case.
"While attorneys' fees in a typical case are usually awarded at a rate of 20-25 percent of the total settlement amount, Plaintiffs' attorneys in this case achieved much more success for their clients over the years than is reflected in the ultimate Settlement contained in the Accord," Anderson wrote.
"This case consumed years of litigation, and there were many Plaintiffs' victories along the way, the value of which is immeasurable to the Plaintiffs. ... Plaintiffs' attorneys had to obtain and digest thousands of documents and devote an enormous amount of time to this extremely complex litigation which has spanned decades. Plaintiffs' attorneys were required to gather evidence, attend to discovery, prepare numerous briefs, motions and appeals, analyze contracts and the City's employee data base, attend Court hearings, and negotiate the Accord amongst many other obligations."