United States District Court, W.D. Washington
BEREKET NUGUSSIE, an individual; PAUL ROMOLINO, and individual, and MOHAMED ABDI, an individual, Plaintiff,
HMS HOST NORTH AMERICA, a foreign business entity, and AUTOGRILL S.p.A, a foreign corporation, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR AWARD OF
ATTORNEY'S FEES AND EXPENSES
S. LASNIK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiffs' have submitted authority and evidence
supporting their Motion for Award of Attorney's Fees and
the Court, having considered the pleadings on file and being
fully advised, finds that good cause exists for entry of the
Order below; now, therefore, IT IS HEREBY FOUND, ORDERED,
ADJUDGED, AND DECREED THAT:
Unless otherwise provided herein, all capitalized terms in
this Order shall have the same meaning as set forth in the
Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees and Expenses.
Court having appointed Badgley Mullins Turner, PLLC and the
Law Offices of Daniel Whitmore as Class Counsel.
Class Counsel has requested the Court calculate their award
using the percentage-of-the-fund method. Class Counsel
request the Court award 15% of the common fund as
attorney's fees and expenses ($128, 500.00)
These requested attorney's fees and costs are fair and
reasonable under RCW 49.48.030 and the Ordinance
(“SeaTac Municipal Code Chapter 7.45”) based on
the percentage-of-the-fund method. The Court reaches this
conclusion after analyzing: (1) the results Class Counsel
achieved; (2) Class Counsel's risk in this litigation;
(3) the complexity of the issues presented; (4) the hours
Class Counsel worked on the case; (5) Class Counsel's
hourly rate; (6) the contingent nature of the fee; and (7)
awards made in similar cases.
Class Counsel has submitted authority and declarations to
support the Court's lodestar cross-check.
Class Counsel reasonably expended more than 217.3 hours on
the investigation, preparation, filing, mediation, and
settlement of Plaintiff's Claims. Their detailed time
records are based on contemporaneous records of hours worked.
Class Counsel exercised billing judgment and billed
Class Counsel's hourly rates - $565.00 for Duncan Turner,
$495.00 for Daniel Whitmore, and $310.00 for Mark Trivett -
are reasonable hourly rates considering their individual
“experience, skill, and reputation, ” see
Trevino v. Gates, 99 F.3d 911, 924 (9th Cir. 1996) and
the prevailing market rates in this District. See Blum v.
Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895 (1984).
Applying these rates to the number of hours reasonable
expended in litigation, Class Counsel's lodestar is
approximately $109, 444.26. This lodestar reflects work and
expenses that was reasonable and necessarily expended on the
pursuing Plaintiffs' claims and that are estimated to
occur in concluding the case. Plaintiffs'
percentage-of-the-fund request represents a lodestar
multiplier of 1.17.
Based on the risk Class Counsel faced in litigating the
certified questions and the quality of the work they
performed, this Court finds a lodestar multiplier of
approximately 1.17 is fair and reasonable.
lodestar multiplier is appropriate in this case based on the
risk factor. See Carlson v. Lake Chelan Cmty. Hosp.,
116 Wn.App. 718, 742-43, 75 P.3d 533 (2003) (affirming
application of 1.5 multiplier to lodestar); Vizcaino v.
Microsoft Corp., 290 F.3d 1043, 1052-54 (9th Cir. 2002)
(approving multiplier of 3.65); Steiner v. Am. Broad.
Co., 248 Fed.Appx. 780, 783 (9th Cir. 2007) (approving
multiplier of 6.85), Craft v. Cnty. of San
Bernardino, 624 F.Supp.2d 1113, 1125 (C.D. Cal. 2008)
(approving multiplier of 5.2 and stating, “there is
ample authority for such awards resulting in multipliers in
this range or higher.” Here, Plaintiffs pursued the
action under a remedial Washington employment statute and a
local minimum wage ordinance. Class Counsel pursued this
action on a contingency fee basis and assumed the risk that
if they were unsuccessful, they would receive no compensation
for their work on the certified questions or settlement
negotiations. This action involved novel and unresolved legal
issues, and thus, the potential existed for a long and
protracted litigation as the Court addressed its
addition, a lodestar multiplier is appropriate based on the
quality of work performed by Class Counsel. Class Counsel
performed high-quality work, resulting in an extremely
favorable collective settlement for Class Members. Class
Members recovered the entirety of their owed ...