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Hernandez v. City of Vancouver and Mark Tanninen

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

October 29, 2014

ROLANDO HERNANDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF VANCOUVER and MARK TANNINEN, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S PETITION FOR ATTORNEY FEES

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Rolando Hernandez's ("Hernandez") petition for attorney fees (Dkt. 491). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants in part and denies in part the motion for the reasons stated herein.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On August 24, 2004, Hernandez filed a complaint against Defendants City of Vancouver ("City") and Mark Tanninen ("Tanninen") (collectively "Defendants") explicitly asserting six claims, but some of the claims involved multiple sub-claims. Dkt. 1. A fair reading of the complaint shows that Hernandez asserted ten claims against the City and three claims against Tanninen. The claims against the City were as follows: (1) hostile work environment in violation of 42 U.S.C. §2000e; (2) hostile work environment in violation of Title 49.60 RCW; (3) retaliation in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e; (4) retaliation in violation of Title 49.60 RCW; (5) disparate treatment in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e; (6) disparate treatment in violation of Title 49.60 RCW; (7) violation of 42 U.S.C. §1981; (8) failure to adequately protect plaintiff in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983; (9) conspiracy in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985; and (10) intentional infliction of emotional distress. The claims against Tanninen were as follows: (1) failure to adequately protect plaintiff in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983; (2) conspiracy in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985; and (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress.

On June 16, 2006, the Court granted summary judgment on all claims. Dkt. 66. On May 7, 2008, the Ninth Circuit reversed. Dkt. 77-2.

On January 21, 2009, Hernandez appealed a discovery decision that was not in his favor. Dkt. 106. On May 12, 2010, the Ninth Circuit issued a writ of mandamus essentially reversing the Court's discovery order. Dkt. 140.

On June 11, 2012, trial began before the Honorable Ronald B. Leighton, United States District Judge. Dkt. 268. On June 14, 2012, Judge Leighton granted Defendants' motion for a mistrial based on the actions of Hernandez's sole attorney, Thomas Boothe. Dkt. 272. On October 12, 2012, Judge Leighton found Mr. Boothe in contempt of court and ordered sanctions. Dkt. 301.

On November 1, 2012, attorney Judith Lonnquist appeared on behalf of Hernandez. Dkt. 307.

On February 19, 2013, the case was transferred to the undersigned. Dkt. 312.

On February 25, 2013, Mr. Boothe appealed the order of contempt and sanctions. Dkt. 315. The appeal is currently pending.

On April 15, 2014, the Court began a ten-day trial. Dkt. 409. At that time, Hernandez's seven claims were as follows: (1) disparate treatment in violation of federal law against the City; (2) disparate treatment in violation of state law against the City; (3) hostile work environment in violation of federal law against the City; (4) hostile work environment in violation of state law against the City; (5) retaliation in violation of federal law against the City; (6) retaliation in violation of state law against the City; and

(7) a conspiracy in violation of federal law against the City and Tanninen. Dkt. 382. On the last day of trial, Hernandez withdrew his disparate treatment claims and his federal retaliation claim, leaving four claims for the jury to consider. Dkt. 444. On April 29, 2014, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Hernandez on his hostile work environment and retaliation claims against the City and in favor of the Defendants on the conspiracy claim. Dkt. 450.

On August 4, 2014, Hernandez filed the instant motion requesting an award of fees under federal and state law. Dkt. 491. On August 5, 2014, Ms. Lonnquist filed a memorandum in support of a multiplier for her fees. Dkt. 506. On September 29, 2014, the City ...


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