Plaintiff obtained a default judgment in an Americans with Disabilities Act suit against a shopping center for wheelchair barriers.  When the plaintiff applied for a fee award, the district court awarded him $600 per the court’s local rule setting fees awardable in default collection actions.  In a split decision, this case holds that the district court erred.  Under the local rule, construed to conform to the requirements of federal law, if a party seeks fees higher than those set in the court’s fee schedule, the district judge must hear the matter and, at least in a civil rights case like this one, award fees according to the lodestar method.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Graber, J.; Kleinfeld, J., dissenting); June 25, 2018; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17174