United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
L. ROBART United Stales District Judge.
the court are two motions for attorneys' fees: (1)
Plaintiffs Stefanie Harris, Margaret Harris, and Scott
Harris's (collectively, "the Harrises") motion
for fees (Harris Fees Mot. (Dkt. # 17)); and (2) Defendant
Brad Moore's motion for fees, which Mr. Moore filed as
personal representative of the Griffith Estate (Griffith Fees
Mot. (Dkt. # 19)). Both motions arise from the court's
order remanding this case to King County Superior Court for
the second time. (See 3/1/17 Order (Dkt. # 16) at
5-6.) Defendant Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company
("Travelers") opposes the motions. (Fees Resp.
(Dkt. # 21).) Having considered the parties' submissions,
the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law,
the court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the Harrises'
motion and GRANTS the Griffith Estate's motion.
recent order of remand, the court thoroughly recounted the
facts underlying this case, which is one of several legal
actions arising from a fatal automobile accident, (3/1/17
Order at 2-6.) The court granted the Harrises' and the
Griffith Estate's motions to remand. (Id. at
7-11.) After also finding that Travelers lacked an
objectively reasonable basis for removal, the court granted
the Harrises' and the Griffith Estate's requests for
fees in conjunction with remand. (Id. at 11-12
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c)).) Accordingly, the court
directed the parties to submit letter briefs in support of
and in opposition to reasonable costs and attorneys'
fees. (Id. at 13.) Those letter briefs are now
before the court. (See Harris Fees Mot.; Griffith
threshold matter, the court rejects Travelers's belated
attempt to relitigate whether the court should be award fees
at all. (See Fees Resp. at 1-2.) In their motions to
remand, the Harrises and the Griffith Estate explicitly
sought fees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
(See Harris MTR (Dkt. # 6) at 16-17; Griffith MTR
(Dkt. # 8) at 5.) The court concluded that Travelers lacked
an objectively reasonable basis for removal and awarded costs
and fees to the Harrises and the Griffith Estate. (3/1/17
Order at 12.) In its response, Travelers acknowledges this
portion of the court's order and effectively moves for
reconsideration on that issue. (Fees Resp. at 1-2.) But
Travelers fails to satisfy the procedural requirements or the
substantive standard on a motion for reconsideration.
See Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 7(h)(1) (requiring a
showing of "manifest error" or "new facts or
legal authority which could not have been brought to [the
court's] attention earlier with reasonable
diligence"), 7(h)(2) ("A motion for reconsideration
shall be plainly labeled as such."). The court
accordingly rejects Travelers's improperly presented
argument that no fees should be awarded and turns to the
reasonableness of the requested fees.
Legal Standard for Reasonable Attorneys' Fees
a fee-shifting statute" such as 28 U.S.C. §
1447(c), "the court 'must calculate awards for
attorney[s'] fees using the 'lodestar'
method." Staton v. Boeing Co., 37 F.3d 938, 965
(9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Ferland v. Conrad Credit
Corp., 244 F.3d 1145, 1149 n.4 (9th Cir. 2001)); see
also Sankary v. Ringgold, 601 F.App'x 529, 530 (9th
Cir. 2015) (unpublished). "The 'lodestar' is
calculated by multiplying the number of hours the prevailing
party reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable
hourly rate." Morales v. City of San Rafael, 96
F.3d 359, 363 (9th Cir. 1996). Courts in the Ninth Circuit
look to the factors enumerated in Kerr v. Screen Extras
Guild, Inc., 526 F.2d 67, 70 (9th Cir. 1975), to
determine the overall reasonableness of a fee request:
(1) the time and labor required, (2) the novelty and
difficulty of the questions involved, (3) the skill requisite
to perform the legal service properly, (4) the preclusion of
other employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the
(5) the customary fee, (6) whether the fee is fixed or
contingent, (7) time limitations imposed by the client or the
circumstances, (8) the amount involved and the results
obtained, (9) the experience, reputation, and ability of the
attorneys, (10) the 'undesirability' of the case,
(11) the nature and length of the professional relationship
with the client, and (12) awards in similar cases.
See also Ferland, 244 F.3d at 1149 n.4 (citing
Van Gerwen v. Guarantee Mut. Life Co., 214 F.3d
1041, 1046 (9th Cir. 2000)) ("[T]he district court may,
if circumstances warrant, adjust the lodestar to account for
other factors which are not subsumed within it.").
The Harrises' Motion
court agrees with Travelers that the $20, 000.00 to $27,
500.00 lodestar that the Harrises request is insufficiently
supported and unreasonable. (See-Fees Resp. at 2.) The
Harrises' lead counsel, Andrew Hoyal, attests that he
spent more than 40 hours preparing the motion to remand and
at least 10 hours on the reply brief. (Hoyal Decl.
¶¶ 7-8.) However, the Harrises provide minimal
detail regarding how Mr. Hoyal spent this time. (See
id.) Furthermore, the Griffith Estate's counsel,
Jennifer P. ...