A federal judge has disallowed attorneys to recover electronic legal research fees as part of a $31.5 million settlement against Coca-Cola.
Among the expenses [U.S. District Court Judge Willis B.] Hunt disallowed was $93,960.67 for LexisNexis, Westlaw and Online Library Research, writing, “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. … 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.”