In Hernandez v. Kaisman, 2016 WL 1737263 (N.Y. App. 1st Dept. May 3, 2016), the court affirmed the lower court’s award of attorney fees in the amount of $264,612.50. The New York City Human Rights Law provides for an award of a reasonable attorney fee to the prevailing party.
In upholding the fee award in this case, the court noted:
[T]he fee award set by the court, which is substantially less than the amount requested, is not unreasonably high. The court was not required to reduce fees further to reflect a relative lack of success; the unsuccessful claims involve[d] a common core of facts or were based on related legal theories, so that [m]uch of counsel’s time w[as] devoted generally to the litigation as a whole, making it difficult to divide the hours expended on a claim-by-claim basis. There is also no per se rule against awarding fees in excess of damages recovered; indeed, fees may even be appropriate where a party recovers only nominal damages—at least where, as here, the litigation served a significant public purpose. The instant case enabled the courts to clarify the standard applicable to hostile work environment claims under the [New York City Human Rights Law].