United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
GREGORY J. STARK, Plaintiff,
MARKEL AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Gregory
Stark's Motion for Attorney's Fees, Dkt. #20,
submitted pursuant to the Court's November 7, 2017, Order
awarding fees and costs under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Dkt.
#19 at 7. Mr. Stark requests $16, 009 in fees “for work
spent briefing the Motion to Remand [in this case], opposing
Markel American's Counter Motion [in the parallel action,
Case No. 17-1345-RSM], and preparing this supplemental
motion.” Dkt #20 at 1. Defendant Defendant Markel
American Insurance Company (“Markel”) opposes
this Motion. Dkt. #23.
U.S.C. § 1447(c) states that the Court may award payment
of “just costs and any actual expenses, including
attorney fees, incurred as a result of the removal.”
District courts have broad discretion to determine the
reasonableness of fees. Gates v. Deukmejian, 987
F.2d 1392, 1398 (9th Cir. 1992). To make this determination,
courts determine the “lodestar amount, ” which is
calculated by multiplying the number of hours reasonably
expended by a reasonable hourly rate. Camacho v.
Bridgeport Fin., Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 978 (9th Cir.
2008). The lodestar figure is presumptively a reasonable fee
award. Id. at 977. The court may adjust the lodestar
figure up or down based upon the factors listed in Kerr
v. Screen Extras Guild, Inc., 526 F.2d 67, 70 (9th
Cir.1975). The court need not consider the Kerr
factors, however, unless necessary to support the
reasonableness of the fee award. Cairns v. Franklin Mint
Co., 292 F.3d 1139, 1158 (9th Cir. 2002). In the Ninth
Circuit, “the determination of a reasonable hourly rate
‘is not made by reference to the rates actually charged
the prevailing party.'” Welch v. Metro. Life
Ins. Co., 480 F.3d 942, 946 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Mendenhall v. Nat'l Transp. Safety Bd., 213 F.3d
464, 471 (9th Cir. 2000)). “Rather, billing rates
should be established by reference to the fees that private
attorneys of an ability and reputation comparable to that of
prevailing counsel charge their paying clients for legal work
of similar complexity.” Id. (internal
quotation omitted). “Affidavits of the plaintiffs'
attorney and other attorneys regarding prevailing fees in the
community, and rate determinations in other cases,
particularly those setting a rate for the plaintiffs'
attorney, are satisfactory evidence of the prevailing market
rate.” United Steelworkers of Am. v. Phelps Dodge
Corp., 896 F.2d 403, 407 (9th Cir. 1990). “The
party seeking fees bears the burden of documenting the hours
expended in the litigation and must submit evidence
supporting those hours…” Welch, 480
F.3d at 945-46 (citing Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461
U.S. 424, 433 (1983)). The district court “should
exclude any hours ‘that are excessive, redundant, or
otherwise unnecessary.'” McCown v. City of
Fontana, 565 F.3d 1097, 1102 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434).
Court will first address the hourly rate. The Court finds
that Mr. Stark's requested rates of $475 for lead counsel
Jack Zahner and $320 for associate Adrienne McKelvey are
reasonable, based on the experience, skill, and education of
each attorney, and supported with citations to relevant cases
where similar billing rates were awarded. See Dkt.
#20 at 3.
Court next turns to the hours requested. The Court finds that
it may only award Mr. Stark reasonable fees for time spent
briefing the Motion to Remand in this case and not for
opposing Markel's Counter Motion in the parallel case.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). As is its typical
practice, the Court declines to award fees for time spent
preparing the instant Motion.
Court has reviewed the specific billing entries and finds that
the hours spent researching the issues in this case and
drafting the briefing related to the Motion to Remand are
reasonable. The Court will not award fees for entries related
to opposing the Counter Motion, and calculates those hours at
4.8 hours billed at $320 and 0.9 hours billed at $475. The
Court will not award the 5.8 hours billed at $320 related to
the instant motion. Subtracting these amounts from the bill,
the Court calculates the total award at $12, 190.
reviewed the relevant briefing, the declarations and exhibits
attached thereto, and the remainder of the record, the Court
hereby finds and ORDERS that Plaintiff Stark's Motion for
Attorney's Fees, Dkt. #20, is GRANTED IN PART as stated
above. Defendant Markel shall pay Plaintiff $12, 190 in
attorney's fees within twenty-one (21) days of this
 Additionally, numerous courts have
subsequently held that the bulk of these factors are subsumed
in the lodestar calculation. See, e.g., Blum v.
Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 898-900, 104 S.Ct. 1541, 79
L.Ed.2d 891 (1984).
 The Court notes that the record of
attorney hours submitted by Mr. Stark is difficult to follow
because there are no dates for the billing entries.
See Dkt. #21 at 4-5. In the future, the Court
advises Mr. Stark's attorneys to submit billing records
with dates to avoid ...