United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER AWARDING ATTORNEYS' FEES
L. ROBART United States District Judge.
24, 2017, the court granted Plaintiff Geraldine Barabin's
motion to remand the case to King County Superior Court and
additionally granted Ms. Barabin's request for fees and
costs, due to the lack of an objectively reasonable basis for
Defendant Scapa Dryer Fabrics, Inc.'s ("Scapa")
removal of the case. (7/24/17 Order (Dkt. # 33) at 6-7.) The
court ordered Ms. Barabin to submit a brief detailing her
reasonable attorneys' fees and costs. (Id. at
7.) Before the court now is Ms. Barabin's unopposed brief
in support of reasonable attorneys' fees. (Br. (Dkt.
#35).) Having considered the briefing, the balance of the
record, and the applicable law, the court AWARDS Ms. Barabin
a total of $7, 702.50 in reasonable attorneys' fees.
Barabin brought this action against Defendants Scapa and
AstenJohnson, Inc. (collectively, "Defendants") in
King County Superior Court, alleging various counts of
wrongful death, fraud, and other tortious conduct stemming
from Defendants' involvement with asbestos and
asbestos-containing products. (See generally Compl.
(Dkt. #4-1).) Scapa removed the case from state court on
April 17, 2017. (Not. of Rem. (Dkt. #1).) The court had
previously remanded this action once before. See Barabin
v. AstenJohnson, Inc., No. C14-0557JLR (W.D. Wash.)
(6/30/14 Order (Dkt. # 51) at 13.) Ms. Barabin moved to
remand and simultaneously moved for attorneys' fees and
costs. (Mot. (Dkt. #23) at 2-4.)
July 25, 2017, order, the court granted Ms. Barabin's
motion and remanded the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1446(c)(1). (7/24/17 Order at 6.) The court also noted that
Scapa relied upon "untenable argument[s]" and
"inconsistent positions in an effort to keep this action
in federal court." (Id. at 6-7.) Because Scapa
"lacked an objectively reasonable basis for removal,
" the court granted Ms. Barabin's request for fees
and costs. (Id.) The court instructed Ms. Barabin to
submit a brief detailing her reasonable attorneys' fees
and costs and permitted, but did not require, Defendants to
file responsive briefing. (Id. at 7.) Ms. Barabin
submitted briefing per the court's instructions
(see Br.), and Defendants did not file a response
determine whether the requested fees are reasonable, the
court applies the lodestar method. See Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). Under this method,
the court first determines a lodestar figure by multiplying
the number of hours reasonably spent on the litigation by a
reasonable hourly rate. Id. The court "may then
adjust this lodestar calculation by other factors."
Blanchard v. Bergeron, 489 U.S. 87, 94 (1989).
"The fee applicant bears the burden of documenting the
appropriate hours expended in the litigation and must submit
evidence in support of those hours worked." Welch v.
Metro. Life Ins. Co., 480 F.3d 942, 948 (9th Cir. 2007).
reasonable hourly rate corresponds to the prevailing market
rate in the relevant community considering the experience,
skill, and reputation of the attorney in question.
Chalmers v. City of L.A., 796 F.2d 1205, 1210 (9th
Cir. 1986), amended on other grounds, 808 F.2d 1373
(9th Cir. 1987). In assessing whether the attorneys spent a
reasonable number of hours on the litigation, courts may
consider, among other factors: the time and labor required,
novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, the skill
necessary to perform the legal services properly, time
limitations imposed by the client or circumstances, the
amount involved and the results obtained, and the experience,
reputation and ability of the attorneys. LaFarge Conseils
et Etudes, S.A. v. Kaiser Cement & Gypsum Corp., 791
F.2d 1334, 1341-42 (9th Cir. 1986) (citing Kerr v. Screen
Extra Guild, Inc., 526 F.2d 67, 69-70 (9th Cir. 1975)).
The court need not apply every factor in every case, but
rather only those factors that are relevant to the particular
case. See Kerr, 526 F.2d at 70; Moore v. James
H. Matthews & Co., 682 F.2d 830, 838 (9th Cir.
Barabin requests a total of $7, 702.50 in attorneys'
fees, which represents 23.7 hours of work billed at an hourly
rate of $325.00. (See Good Decl. (Dkt. #35-1) at 2.)
In support of its motion, Ms. Barabin submits a declaration
of counsel detailing the fees attributable to the motion to
remand. (See generally Good Decl.) Upon review, the
court concludes that Ms. Barabin is entitled to the fees she
first to the hourly rate, the record shows that the billing
attorney Meredith Good charged $325.00 per hour.
(Id. at 2.) Defendants have not objected to this
hourly rate. Given the lack of objection, and based upon the
court's familiarity with the rates charged by attorneys
with similar qualifications in the Seattle legal community,
the court finds that the rate is reasonable. Turning next to
the number of hours, the court determines that 27.3 hours
constitute a reasonable amount of time expended on the motion
to remand. None of the tasks documented appear excessive,
redundant, or otherwise unnecessary. See Van Gerwen v.
Guarantee Mut. Life. Co., 214 F.3d 1041, 1045 (9th Cir.
2000). The total hours reported reasonably reflect Ms.
Good's efforts not only in researching and arguing the
removal issue, but also in preparing the supplemental
briefing that the court ordered on the issue. (See
Good Decl. at 1-2; see also 7/11/17 Order (Dkt. #
29).) Having considered the record in detail, the court
concludes that this lodestar calculation is reasonable and
that there is no need for further adjustment.