Tuesday, June 7, 2016
In Albani v Albani, 2016 WL 3074407 (S.D. Cal, 2016) after a 12 day bench trial, the Court granted the Petition for the return of the child to Singapore, and then directed Respondent mother to pay $196,498.50 in attorney’s= fees. It analyzed the award, utilizing the lodestar method, citing Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983)). It held it was not appropriate to award attorney’s= fees for petitioners five attorneys, and only awarded fees for the work done by Amanda Harris, the person responsible for briefing and Richard Min, the lead attorney who argued the case. Ms. Harris billed 228.6 hours and Mr. Min billed 311.73 hours on matters pertaining to this case. The Court concluded that the hours were reasonable. Mr. Min billed his client at a rate of $300 per hour, and Ms. Harris billed at a rate of $450 per hour for the 2015 calendar year, and $455 per hour starting in 2016. The hourly rates were reasonable. Respondent argued that she had a good‑faith belief that the United States was I.A.=s habitual residence. The Court found that her testimony lacked credibility. It rejected her argument that any fee award should be reduced because of her financial condition. She was a trained physician and prior to these proceedings, she was employed in Singapore as a project manager, working part‑time and making $5,000 a month in Singapore dollars.