Here's the third of three 2008 cases we'll mention today that pertain to attorney's fees, which often present an important issue in wage and hour cases. This one comes from New York. In Barfield v. New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., Case No. 06-4137-cv, the Second Circuit upheld a District Court order cutting a $340,375 fee request to $49,889, because the attorney had been unable to certify an overtime collective action.
So how much did the plaintiff get in her individual case? You'll be surprised at how little it takes to justify the fee award.
Having concluded, as a matter of law, that Bellevue was liable under the FLSA for Barfield’s overtime compensation, the district court awarded her compensatory overtime in the amount of $887.25. See Barfield v. N.Y. City Health & Hosps. Corp., 2006 WL 2356152. Further, having observed that nothing in the record indicated that defendants had made any effort to ensure that their employment of temporary health care workers complied with the FLSA, see Barfield v. N.Y. City Health & Hosps. Corp., 432 F.Supp. 2d at 395, the district court ordered defendants to pay Barfield liquidated damages in an equal amount, for a total damages award of $1,774.50, See Barfield v. N.Y. City Health & Hosps. Corp., 2006 WL 2356152.
The plaintiff also recovered $6,565.79 in costs. With the $49,889 in attorney’s fees, the compensatory and liquidated damages and costs, plaintiff recovers a total award of $58,229.29. You can download the opinion in Barfield here in pdf. Curiously, the case was argued in December 2007, but the opinion was not issued until August 2008.