Legal Memorandum: Calculating Attorney Fees in FLSA Cases

Issue: Under federal law, how are reasonable attorney’s fees determined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Attorney fees; Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); Reasonable fees
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 488 F.2d 714
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 06/01/2015

The federal lodestar approach is the foundation for setting reasonable fee awards under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Padurjan v. Aventura Limousine & Transp. Serv., Inc., 441 Fed. Appx. 684, 686 (11th Cir. 2011). Using this approach, the court must determine a “lodestar figure” by multiplying a reasonable hourly rate for the services of the prevailing party’s attorney by the number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation.  Norman v. Hous. Auth. of City of Mongtomery, 836 F.2d 1292, 1299 (11th Cir. 1988)*FN1; Galdames v. N&D Inv. Corp., 432 Fed. Appx. 801, 806 (11th Cir. 2011). The party requesting fees has the burden of presenting satisfactory evidence to establish that the requested rate is in accord with the prevailing market rate, and that the hours expended are reasonable.  Norman, 836 F.2d at 1303.   

When calculating a reasonable hourly rate and the number of hours that are reasonable, courts in the Eleventh Circuit are guided by the factors set out in Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714 (5th Cir. 1974).  Although the lodestar calculation is the primary mechanism for determining reasonable fees, the Johnson factors may still be considered, as appropriate, in terms of their influence on the lodestar amount.  Norman, 836 F.2d at 1299.  These factors are:

1.                  The time and labor required;

2.                  The novelty and difficulty of the issues presented;

#brad_icons_1 li a{color:#999999;}