Ng v. King Henry Realty, Inc., 16 Civ. 0013
Congratulations to our Government Service & Public Interest Committee Co-Chair Anita Wu! New York Law Journal published the decision Ng v. King Henry Realty, Inc., 16 Civ. 0013. Anita was part of a legal team that represented Plaintiff Chee Sum Ng, who lived on the 7th floor of a building in Chinatown and suffered from end stage renal disease. He needed to leave his apartment several times a week for dialysis treatment but the one elevator in the building was being taken out of service for five months. The landlord did not offer Mr. Ng any accommodation, such as a first floor apartment, that would permit him to safely exit and enter the building. After reaching a settlement in favor of Mr. Ng, Anita and her team moved for and was awarded nearly $40,000 in attorneys’ fees in the case.
She had this to share from Judge James Francis’ decision:
“Many of the defendants’ other objections to hours worked are entirely frivolous. For example, the defendants’ attorney objects to Ms. Wu’s billing entries totaling 8.6 hours on December 30, 2015 because ”[her] firm is in the public sector and I doubt that they are required to work a total of 7 full hours in 1 day.“ (Def. Memo., ¶15). The crux of the defendants’ argument is that lawyers at not-for-profit organizations are categorically unwilling to work long hours to meet their clients’ needs. This view is entirely divorced from reality and requires no further attention, except to note that it is debunked by the conduct of the plaintiff’s lawyers in this case. After learning of the planned elevator shutdown less than a week before it was scheduled to occur, the attorneys worked on a holiday weekend to file the case in time to stop the defendants from shutting the elevator down. (Wu Decl., ¶¶4, 6).”