Is Extent of Success a Factor In Determining Amount of Attorney's Fees Award ?
In Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 103 S. Ct. 1933, 76 L. Ed. 2d 40 (1983), the United States Supreme Court held:
The extent of a plaintiff's success is a crucial factor in determining the proper amount of an award of attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. 1988.
Where the plaintiff has failed to prevail on a claim that is distinct in all respects from his successful claims, the hours spent on the unsuccessful claim should be excluded in considering the amount of a reasonable fee.
Where a lawsuit consists of related claims, a plaintiff who has won substantial relief should not have his attorney's fee reduced simply because the district court did not adopt each contention raised.
But where the plaintiff achieved only limited success, the district court should award only that amount of fees that is reasonable in relation to the results obtained." Hensley, 461 U.S. at 440.
Once the prevailing party has established the relatedness of the claims it is the opposing party's "burden to establish a basis for segregating the hours spent on the successful and unsuccessful claims." Okot v. Conicelli, 180 F. Supp. 2d 238 (2002).