Sunday, November 30, 2008

U.S. District Court Judge Disallows LexisNexis and Westlaw Research Expenses

In a November 7, 2008 order, the U.S. District Judge, in Carpenters Health & Welfare Fund, et al., v. Coca-Cola Co., disallowed $93,960.67 in Lexis, Westlaw, and online library research expenses, stating ...

This Court is of the opinion that charging separately for use of a research service 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. “[C]omputer-aided research, like any other form of legal research, is a component of attorneys' fees and cannot be independently taxed as an item of cost in addition to the attorneys' fee award.” Leftwich v. Harris-Stowe State College, 702 F.2d 686, 695 (8th Cir.1983). 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. 2008 WL 4997199

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