Procedures for Recovering Out-of-Pocket Expenses

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The Central District established and implemented the policy for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses incurred by law firms representing plaintiffs through the Central District’s Pro Bono Panel (the “Policy”). During the course of the litigation, or when a motion to recover attorney’s fees and costs is denied at the conclusion of the litigation, counsel may submit a Request for Reimbursement of Out-of-Pocket Expenses up to $10,000.00 per case; however, advance approval for a single expense exceeding $500.00 is required for reimbursement requests during the course of the litigation.1 To assist Pro Bono Panel Attorneys in complying with the Policy, the following procedures have been developed. These procedures apply to all attorneys voluntarily representing pro se plaintiffs in prisoner civil rights cases and any other cases that the Court may later include under the Pro Bono Panel.

  1. A Pro Bono Panel Attorney seeking to recover out-of-pocket expenses must complete the form entitled “Request for Reimbursement of Out-of-Pocket Expenses,” setting forth the nature, reason and amount of each expenditure supported by invoices and actual receipts or copies thereof. The maximum reimbursement of covered expenses should not exceed $10,000.00 for a case. The district or magistrate judge assigned to a case has the discretion to make exceptions to this limitation and/or to the requirement of advance approval upon an adequate showing of good cause.

    Forms are to be submitted (via mail, facsimile or delivery) to the CJA Supervising Attorney. Do not file the forms. As administrative forms they will not be made part of the case file and will not be available to the public or other parties in the case.

    Any out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed to the Pro Bono Panel Attorney or law firm, will be repaid to the Attorney Admissions Fund upon recovery of a judgment or settlement resulting in a monetary award to plaintiff. This repayment must be made prior to any disbursement to counsel, plaintiff, or any other person.

  2. During litigation, the maximum reimbursement for any single expense shall be $500.00 unless a larger amount is approved before the expense is incurred. To obtain advance approval and payment of an expense, the Pro Bono Panel Attorney must complete the form entitled “Request and Authority to Incur Costs in Excess of $500.00.” The form requires counsel to set forth the nature of the contemplated expenditure, the reason for the expenditure, the anticipated amount including the flat, hourly or per piece rate, and such other information as may be relevant for a determination that there is good cause for the expense to be incurred.

    Once acted upon by the Court, a copy of the Request and Authority to Incur Costs in Excess of $500.00 will be forwarded to the Pro Bono Panel Attorney and must be submitted by the attorney with the request for reimbursement if payment is being sought prior to the conclusion of litigation.

Completed forms are to be directed to:

Cynthia Valenzuela Dixon
CJA Supervising Attorney
United States District Court
U.S. Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012-4797

Procedural and status inquiries should be emailed to:

1Advance approval is not required for a single expense exceeding $500.00, if counsel waits to the conclusion of the litigation to submit the Request for Reimbursement of Out-of-Pocket Expenses.