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E.D.N.Y. Decision: Don't Have Your Paralegals PDF Emails

On March 31, 2018, Judge Anne Shields of the United States District for the Eastern District of the New York, issued a decision in Sands Harbor Marina Corp. v. Wells Fargo Ins. Servs. of Or., 09-CV-3855 (J5) AYS), 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58729 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2018), rewarding reasonable costs to the recipient of a FRCP 45 subpoena, Dogali Law Group, served on it by the defendant, WFIS.

As part of its decision, the court considered the reasonableness of fees related to services provided by the firm's support staff. Notably the court found that charges of $90 - $125 per hour for paralegals are reasonable. Among the paralegal tasks that Dogali sought reimbursement for were the copying of documents and email for its production in response to the subpoena. WFIS offered the services of its electronic discovery vendor to do the copying. Judge Shields faulted Dogali for how the paralegals prepared its production:

"Rather than explore a more efficient and economical approach for the production, DLG opted to have paralegals print each email individually and then convert it into a pdf. WFIS should not be required to bear the cost of DLG's unilateral decision to utilize a more time consuming approach. Thus, DLG is barred from recouping the 24 paralegal hours spent copying thee mails and creating the pdfs." Id. at 22-23.

The fact that court barred recovery for this relatively small part of its overall request for $39,709 in fees, shows an attention to the specifics of how production is conducted and an unwillingness to overlook needlessly repetitive work that can easily be automated.

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