Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Judicial Notice of Internet Evidence — Admissions — Court Takes Notice of Website of Firm Seeking Attorney’s Fees For Biographical Information to Assess Reasonableness of Hourly Rates Sought

In re Reynolds, 2015 Bankr. LEXIS 732 (Bankr. C.D. Cal. Mar. 9, 2015):

Hourly Rate Charged

Reynolds seeks an award of reasonable attorneys' fees based on an hourly rate of $400 per hour. Raymond Rengo ("Rengo") testified in support of the request:

I have been licensed to practice in California since 2007. COHN STEWART'S  practice emphasizes in real estate, family law, civil litigation, and bankruptcy. COHN STEWART has handled numerous cases involving complex bankruptcies  and civil litigation. . . . The hourly rate for attorneys at COHN STEWART is $400.00 per hour which is a reasonable rate in this community for attorneys with similar experience; I am informed and believe that these rates are the usual and  customary rates charged by attorneys of law firms in this community based upon experience.

The court takes judicial notice of Cohn Stewart's website [] at which the firm lists Martin P. Cohn (Cohn") and Michael Margaret Stewart, principals, Rengo, an associate, and Elizabeth A.G. Cox, a paralegal. According to the website, Cohn has practiced law "for more than two decades." [*6]  Rengo, on the other hand, testified that he was licensed in 2007 -- about seven years ago. Reynolds has not provided evidence to justify an award of reasonable attorneys' fees for the work performed by both Cohn and Rengo at an hourly rate of $400 given the vast disparity in experience between Cohn and his associate, Rengo. The court takes judicial notice that an hourly rate of $400 for Cohn's services and an hourly rate of $300 for Rengo's services is well within the range of hourly rates charged by comparably skilled attorneys for similar services rendered in chapter 11 cases pending in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.

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