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By Lisa Needham of the Lawyerist.
What amount is appropriate for you to spend on trial technology in a case where you expect to recover fees and costs?
The question is an odd one. How do you decide if you are using too much technology during your trial–so much that a court could disallow all of the costs during a motion for attorney fees? I don’t know the answer to that question. You probably don’t know the answer to that question until you are fully prepped for trial. Correction: maybe you don’t even know the answer to that question until you are at trial, or until you win the trial.
Of course, you are obliged to try and control costs to your client, and you’re obliged not to inflate your fees and costs to the court. But it is tough to talk about fees in the context of trial support technology because we don’t have good metrics yet for talking about how much it should cost.
The Legal Profession Blog reports that roughly $20,000 in trial technology costs were disallowed in a case that involved an injury to a minor at a day care center. The court decided that the level of technology used, while it may have been helpful to the attorney and the plaintiff, was not necessary for the jury to render their decision.
This was not a complicated trial. The highly sophisticated, and clearly very expensive, all-day-every-day availability and sometime use of technical support was, presumably, useful to Plaintiff, but was not at all necessary for the jury’s consideration of the material presented. It cannot be considered a reasonable cost under 10 Del. C. § 8504.1