John D. O'Connor
Attorney Fee Expert Engagements:
Testified as an expert witness in class action litigation, on behalf of class attorneys, that fees were reasonably $18.8 million against a claim by opposing expert of $2 million. Superior Court of Alameda County, per Hon. Robert Freedman, awarded the full $640 per hour sought, plus a multiplier of 2.2. The court complimented O’Connor on the usefulness of his Declaration:
“…the Court finds Mr. O’Connor’s declaration to be considerably more persuasive in assessing the relevant issues before this Court. The Court finds Mr. O’Connor’s opinions related to the lodestar analysis to be useful, insightful and well-reasoned.” --Hon. Robert B. Freedman, Alameda County Superior Court
Litigated and opined as an expert in arbitration for Goodwin Procter in support of fees for its work representing Wham-O in its “color” IP litigation, against a client claim of excessive staffing and task selection, seeking two thirds cut. O’Connor’s work secured a fee award for Goodwin Procter of the entirety of the $5.1 million in fees sought. The fees were later confirmed in Superior Court action to enforce the award.
Retained by prominent criminal defense counsel and testified (trial) in a federal criminal trade secret conversion prosecution, United States v. Nosal, in which the victim, Korn Ferry, sought recovery of $1.3 million in fees of O’Melveny & Myers under the Victims Recovery and Restitution Act. Influenced by O’Connor’s testimony, the Court cut the requested fees by one third under O’Connor’s theory that some of the fees charged to the criminal case would be apportioned to the civil litigation brought against the Defendant’s companion civil suit.
Testified at arbitration on behalf of a Deputy Sheriff’s Union fighting a claim of approximately $750,000 for attorney fees of the Union’s former President in four cases, under the Board’s authorization to pay fees of President. Opposing expert opined that all of the fees were reasonable. O’Connor opposed on the grounds of a) lack of competence warranting a lower hourly fee than requested; b) lack of reasonable necessity and relationship to the Board authorization. Fees awarded in JAMS arbitration were successfully cut by over 60 percent.
Testified by Declaration on behalf of party and attorneys Reed Smith, seeking to enforce a settlement agreement, seeking fees, per settlement agreement fees clause, of $600,000. Defendant’s opposition was based upon excessive staffing, duplication of effort, and unreasonable hours to enforce a limited breach of agreement. The firm obtained a highly favorable fee award.
On behalf of Best Best & Krieger, opined (declaration) regarding fees recoverable for a case settled under the ADA, after Ninth Circuit reversed in part District Court regarding claim of failure to accommodate educationally handicapped child. Claim was unsuccessful under companion statute IDEA. Successfully opined to reduce majority of fees for administrative proceedings, constituting bulk of total fees, and partially reduce District Court fees, both on allocation analysis.
In Johnson v. Sears Roebuck, an employment discrimination claim by a single plaintiff, O’Connor testified by Declaration as an expert witness in support of entirety of fees sought by prevailing plaintiff of $3.1 million. Opined that attorney was skillful above and beyond normal competence, and warranted premium fee for Sacramento area of $680 per hour, in locale in which $250-$300 is often considered a prevailing rate, as opined by the opposing expert. O’Connor also opined as to the reasonableness of all hours billed versus opposing expert, who sought substantial cuts. Court awarded all fee sought, complimenting O’Connor’s Declaration as being the sound foundation for the fee award:
“The declaration filed by Mr. O’Connor on behalf of plaintiffs provided significantly more assistance, particularly insofar as it is sourced in relevant experience and otherwise provides solid evidentiary support for the opinions set forth therein." -- Hon. Kevin Culhane, Sacramento Superior Court
O’Connor opined successfully in support of a substantial fee award, in Nadaf v. Neiman Marcus, in spite of seeming disparity between fees sought and results. The Plaintiff received a jury verdict of approximately $60,000, based on discriminatory termination of a clerical employee. Based on O’Connor’s Declaration, the Court awarded approximately $800,000 in fees, on the theory that Plaintiffs’ Counsel was forced to fight a “scorched earth” defense in vindicating an important right of Plaintiff.