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Citizens Coordinating Comm. on Friendship Heights v. Washington Metro. Area Transit Auth.

Citation: 14 ELR 20333
No. No. 82-730, 568 F. Supp. 825/19 ERC 1322/(D.D.C., 05/24/1983) Citizen-plaintiffs granted fees

On citizen-plaintiffs' motion for attorney fees following settlement of a § 505 citizen suit under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the court awards $60,936.79 in fees and costs. Plaintiffs alleged that defendant had failed to comply with the national pollutant discharge elimination system permit requirements of §402 by allowing the unpermitted discharge into Little Falls Branch stream of runoff containing cement, rock dust, and diesel fuel. After a year of negotiations, a temporary restraining order, and a preliminary injunction, defendant agreed to remedy the sources of pollution, restore the polluted stream, and pay reasonable attorney fees and costs. The court holds that except for nine nonproductive hours, the documented hours of plaintiffs' three attorneys are reasonable in light of the complex factual issues relating to sources and the route of the pollution, the difficult legal and remedial issues, and the reasonableness of plaintiffs' negotiation posture. The court holds that $110 per hour for plaintiffs' experienced environmental lawyers and $75 per hour ($85 per hour for work after March 1982) for plaintiffs' litigation lawyer who lacked environmental law expertise, reflect prevailing community rates. The court allows an upward adjustment of five percent in the lodestar figure because of defendant's delay in paying attorney fees pursuant to the consent decree.

[A related decision is published at 14 ELR 20346 — Ed.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Jeffrey G. Miller
Bergson, Borkland, Margolis & Adler
11 Dupont Circle NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 462-5930

Walemar J. Pflepsen
Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Heine, Underberg, Manley & Casey
1120 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 857-4000

Counsel for Defendant
Francis R. Filiatreau, Jr., Robert L. Polk
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
600 5th St. NW, Washington DC 20001
(202) 637-1463

Counsel for Third-Party Defendant
Laurence T. Scott
Brault, Graham, Scott & Brault
1314 19th St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 785-1200