This case involved a dispute over the appropriate rates for plaintiff’s expert psychologist and physiatrist. O’Neal v. Century Insurance Company, No. 13-00058 ACK-RLP, 2015 WL 12697660 (D. Haw. Aug. 31, 2015). Both witnesses requested an hourly rate of $1,000, and the defendant argued that rate was unreasonable. Id. In this case, the court provided seven factors that should be used to determine a reasonable rate for an expert witness. Id. These factors are: “(1) the area of expertise; (2) the education and training required to provide the expert opinion; (3) the prevailing rates of other comparable experts; (4) the nature, quality, and complexity of the discovery responses provided; (5) the fee charged to the party who retained the expert; (6) fees traditionally charged by the expert on related matters; and (7) any other factor likely to assist the court in balancing the interests implicated by Rule 26.” Id.
The defendants argued that the rate of $1,000 per hour was particularly unreasonable given that both witnesses charge $125 and $185 per hour to provide the plaintiff with treatment services. Id. The court found that the experts had agreed with the plaintiff to only charge the plaintiff for five hours of work, but that they each in fact did eight hours. Id. Thus, the effective hourly rate was $625 per hour, which the court found to be a reasonable rate, particularly because defendant’s experts in the same areas as these witnesses were charging $1,200 per hour. Id. While defendant stated that their witnesses charged more because they had higher education than plaintiff’s experts, the court found that an effective rate of $625 per hour was reasonable for the plaintiff’s witnesses. Id.