UTStarcom, Inc. v. Starent Networks, Corp., No. 07 C 2582, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 13, 2009) (Bobrick, Ret. J. & Special Master).
Special Master Bobrick, a retired judge, awarded defendant Starent its attorneys fees related to Starent’s efforts to get complete interrogatory responses from plaintiff UTStarcom. In an earlier opinion (click here for the Blog’s related post), the Court denied Starent’s request to dismiss plaintiff’s trade secret misappropriation claim as a sanction for UTStarcom’s incomplete responses, but awarded attorneys fees. Of particular interest, the Special Master held that block billing was not inappropriate and that block billed entries could be recovered. Additionally, based in part on UTStarcom’s failure to provide its rates as part of a reasonableness analysis, the Special Master held that Starent’s rates were not unreasonable, although they may have been more than standard local rates. The Court also noted that patent cases required special expertise which often commands a premium. The Special Master did, however, reduce the rates of Starent’s law students whom the Special Master noted were neither lawyers nor paralegals. Finally, the Special Master reduced by one-third the bills for certain time that was added to Starent’s Bill of Costs late.