On What Basis Is the Attorney-Fee Award Decided
In Bittner v. Tri-County Toyota, Inc. (1991), 58 Ohio St.3d 143, 569 N.E.2d 464, the court noted that the first step in making a fee award is "to calculate the number of hours reasonably expended on the case times an hourly fee." Id. at 145.
The trial court did that in the present case.
In a decision adopted by the trial court as its own, a magistrate applied the hourly rates previously established by this court to the number of post-trial hours the magistrate found to have been reasonably expended by the Association's counsel to defend and implement its judgment on water-quality issues. (Doc. # 431).
In determining how many hours were reasonably expended by the Association's counsel, the magistrate stated that he took into consideration the fact that the billing record "contains charges which have already been awarded to Plaintiffs by the Court of Appeals, charges not related to water quality issues and charges related to water quality issues but unreasonable or unnecessary."
The magistrate then multiplied the hours reasonably expended by the applicable hourly rates and calculated an attorney-fee award of $ 45,640.25.
According to Bittner, a trial court then "may modify that calculation by application of the factors listed in DR 2-106(B)." Id.
These factors include "the time and labor involved in maintaining the litigation; the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved; the professional skill required to perform the necessary legal services; the attorney's inability to accept other cases; the fee customarily charged; the amount involved and the results obtained; any necessary time limitations; the nature and length of the attorney/client relationship; the experience, reputation, and ability of the attorney; and whether the fee is fixed or contingent." Id. at 145-146.