Judge Disallows Legal Research Costs = Overhead

A Federal Judge made some interesting observations in a recent case. Class action lawyers submitted their expenses after winning a judgment against Coca-Cola (to read more about the case click here). The Judge would not allow the lawyers to recover $93,960.67 for LexisNexis, Westlaw and online library research. He wrote:

“This Court is of the opinion that charging separately for use of a research sevice is akin to charging for the use of a case law reporter. That is, the research service is a tool, much like a computer or a pen, and this Court considers the use of such a service part of a firm’s overhead. … Moreover, this Court is aware that many firms pay a flat rate to Lexis and Westlaw regardless of their usage, and class counsel cannot claim such flat rate payments as an out-of-pocket expense.”

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