Attorney Fee Expert
Following a judgment for damages in state or federal court, a party may be entitled to file a petition or motion to recover attorney fees and costs. In Oregon state court, under Oregon Rule of Civil Procedure 68, a party has the right to an evidentiary hearing. Evidence presented at the hearing should include testimony from the lawyer or lawyers who handled the case, and are familiar with the effort and skill required by the case's particular circumstances. In addition, where the reasonableness of requested attorney fees is disputed, evidence should include testimony from a disinterested expert regarding rate, time, and the appropriateness of a rate enhancement or multiplier.
In Oregon federal court, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54, a party seeking attorney fees is limited to written submissions, and is not entitled to an evidentiary hearing. Where the reasonableness of requested attorney fees is disputed, written submissions should include an affidavit from a disinterested expert.
Robert Bonaparte has handled hundreds of cases involving court-fixed attorney fees. He has prepared model attorney fee motions, and published in 2007 a survey of judicially awarded attorney fees in Oregon. The model motions and survey are downloadable in Practice Aids. He has served as a disinterested attorney fee expert in dozens of cases in state and federal court.
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law Re: Statement of Attorney Fees and Costs
Dockins v. State Farm Ins. Co., 329 Or. 20, 985 P.2d 796 (1999). The leading case in Oregon detailing an insured's right to recover attorney fees against an insurance company for work performed in the course of the lawsuit.
Douglass v. Allstate Ins. Co., 152 Or. App. 216, 953 P.2d 770 (1998). The first case in Oregon establishing an insured's right to recover attorney fees against an insurance company for nonpayment of uninsured motorist benefits.