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PROD, Inc. v. Train

Citation: 6 ELR 20341
No. No. 74-999, 8 ERC 1887/(D.D.C., 03/26/1976)

An award of attorneys' fees is granted to plaintiff in a citizen suit which sought to require the EPA Administrator to issue proposed noise emission regulations called for by the Noise Control Act of 1972. The Act clearly provides the court with discretionary authority to grant attorneys' fees in citizen suits brought under it, and the court determines this case to be an appropriate instance for such an award. The Administrator breached a non-discretionary duty to publish the regulations in question before the statutorily-imposed deadline. This litigation, while ultimately mooted by EPA's subsequent publication of proposed rules, admittedly resulted in those proposals being issued at least a month earlier than they otherwise would have been. The lawsuit thus necessarily conferred a public benefit of precisely the kind envisioned by Congress when it provided for citizen suits as an enforcement mechanism in the Act. In setting the amount of the award, the court takes into account the time and labor expended on the case, the benefit to the public and the novelty and complexity of the legal issues presented in order to determine the reasonable value of the services rendered. Because the litigation was brief and uncomplicated and the regulations would have been published at a later date even if plaintiff had not sued, the court grants an award at half the requested hourly rates for the plaintiff's three participating attorneys for a total of $3,067.

Counsel for Plaintiff
John M. Ferren
Samuel R. Berger
Hogan & Hartson
815 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington DC 20006
(202) 331-4500

Arthur L. Fox
Suite 700
2000 P Street, NW
Washington DC 20036
(202) 785-3704

Counsel for Defendant
Bruce J. Chasan
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice
Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2793