United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS'
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Attorney Fees. Dkt. #94. This motion follows a two-day bench
trial and Order from this Court directing a verdict in favor
of Defendant. Dkts. #89, #90 and #92. Defendant now asks the
Court for an award of attorneys' fees in the amount of
$254, 316.00. Dkt. #94. Plaintiff has failed to respond to
it sets a fee, the district court must first determine the
presumptive lodestar figure by multiplying the number of
hours reasonably expended on the litigation by the reasonable
hourly rate.” Intel Corp. v. Terabyte Int'l,
Inc., 6 F.3d 614, 622 (9th Cir. 1993). The reasonable
hourly rate is determined with reference to the prevailing
rates charged by attorneys of comparable skill and experience
in the relevant community. See Blum v. Stetson, 465
U.S. 886, 895 (1984). In determining the reasonable number of
hours expended on the litigation, the Court may exclude any
excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary hours billed.
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 434 (1983). The
Court may also adjust the lodestar with reference to factors
set forth in Kerr v. Screen Extras Guild, Inc., 526
F.2d 67, 69-70 (9th Cir. 1975). The relevant Kerr factors
are: (1) the time and labor required; (2) the novelty and
difficulty of the questions; and (3) the skill requisite to
perform the legal services properly. “The lodestar
amount presumably reflects the novelty and complexity of the
issues, the special skill and experience of counsel, the
quality of representation, and the results obtained from the
litigation.” Intel, 6 F.3d at 622.
initial matter, the Court notes that “[e]xcept for
motions for summary judgment, if a party fails to file papers
in opposition to a motion, such failure may be considered by
the court as an admission that the motion has merit.”
LCR 7(b)(2). Given the history of this matter, the Court
deems Plaintiff's failure to file an opposition to be
such an admission.
to the reasonableness of the requested rates, the Court finds
the rates to be reasonable. Defendant seeks rates of
$265/hour for attorney Chris Nicoll, $200/hour for attorney
Jeremy Jones, and $125/hour for their paralegal. Dkt. #95 at
¶ 3. “The party seeking fees bears the burden of
documenting the hours expended in the litigation and must
submit evidence supporting . . . the rates claimed.”
Welch v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 480 F.3d 942, 945-46
(9th Cir. 2007) (citing Hensley, 461 U.S. at 433).
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, 480 F.3d at 946 (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). “Generally, when
determining a reasonable hourly rate, the relevant community
is the forum in which the district court sits.”
Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin., Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 979
(9th Cir. 2008) (vacating award of attorneys' fees in
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case where district court
failed to identify the relevant community or address the
prevailing market rate).
case, Defendant has presented evidence supporting the
reasonableness of the rates requested in this market.
See Dkts. #95, #96 and #97. Given the Court's
familiarity with the market and the rates typically charged
by experienced attorneys in these types of cases, the Court
finds the rates to be reasonable. The Court also notes that
Plaintiff does not challenge any of the rates requested by
Court now turns to the reasonableness of the hours requested.
“The party seeking fees bears the burden of documenting
the hours expended in the litigation and must submit evidence
supporting” the request. Hensley, 461 U.S. at
433. Defendant has presented a summary of the time spent
defending this action, along with supporting Declarations
explaining the reasons that those hours were incurred, plus
information regarding complications caused by the fact that
the parties are international. Dkts. #95 and #96. The record
supports the number of hours requested, and Plaintiff has
declined to oppose the request. Accordingly, the Court will
award Defendant the total hours requested. The Court does not
find it necessary to make any lodestar adjustments. Defendant
has sought an award of costs through a separate Bill of
Costs, which remains pending before the Court.
considered Defendant's Motion for Attorneys' Fees,
the Declarations and Exhibits in support thereof, and the
remainder of the record, the Court hereby finds and ORDERS
that Defendant's motion (Dkt. #94) is GRANTED. Defendant