Prevailing plaintiffs in employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation cases can recover attorney’s fees their attorney’s incur in prosecuting those claims. In many instances the attorney’s fees sought can exceed the monetary relief the plaintiff obtains and can act as a serious impediment to prompt settlement.
Since most of these cases are done on a contingency fee basis (i.e., the employee’s attorney only gets paid if the plaintiff recovers either through settlement or trial), there is wide disparity of the type of records plaintiff employment lawyers keep. The Supreme Court of Texas recently clarified that in order for an attorney to recover fees under the lodestar method, at a minimum, the attorney must present documentation showing: 1) the services performed; 2) the identity of the person performing the services; 3) the amount of time spent by the person; 4) the hourly rate of the person; 5) when the services were performed; and 6) how much time was spent performing the services.
This result will not seem shocking or surprising practitioners used to federal court practice where lodestar fees and contemporaneous time records are the norm; however, it is good to see the Texas Supreme Court formally adopt this practice for proceedings under state law in state court.
A copy of the Court’s opinion can be downloaded here.
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