Responding to Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI) LLC, which balked at the $160 hourly rate for legal interns, lawyer Aaron Halegua said that rate is reasonable because the legal interns have received some form of legal training.
He explained that the higher rates make sense because summer law interns, unlike some paralegals, have received at least some formal legal training.
He added that the attorney’s fees being requested are reasonable and the work performed was not duplicative.
“Gold Mantis does not provide any details as to how it arrived at the 25% figure, nor does it cite any case law or legal authority in support of this request,” Halegua said.
He said despite having access to the plaintiffs’ motion to compel against IPI, and the corresponding fee petition and time sheets, Gold Mantis does not identify a single actual time entry or specific part of a brief that is arguably duplicative.
Halegua said Gold Mantis’ argument is unpersuasive.
In addition, Halegua also asked the court to award him additional fees for over five hours preparing for the reply brief.
Halegua wants additional fees for preparing his reply to Gold Mantis’ opposition to his clients’ request for attorney’s fees in the amount of $30,517.80.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, Halegua recently asked District Court for the NMI to award his clients attorney’s fee in connection with their motion against Gold Mantis.
Gold Mantis opposed the $160 hourly rate for two law student interns and wants the attorney’s fees reduced by 25%.The request for attorney’s fees includes Halegua’s rate of $400 per hour; co-counsel Bruce Berline’s $300 per hour; and the $160 per-hour rate for two law student interns who performed legal research and other work regarding the lawsuit.
Halegua, who is from New York, represents seven construction workers who are suing Gold Mantis, MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and Imperial Pacific International, LLC over labor and other violations.
The seven workers are Tianming Wang, Dong Han, Yongjun Meng, Liangcai Sun, Youli Wang, Qingchun Xu, and Duxin Yan.