Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Brown v. Seattle Theatre Group

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

July 9, 2018

RHONDA BROWN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SEATTLE THEATRE GROUP, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion for attorney fees and costs (Dkt. No. 42). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court hereby GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the motion for the reasons explained herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs brought this action against Defendant Seattle Theatre Group (“STG”) for alleged violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and its implementing regulations, as well as the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”), Washington Revised Code chapter 49.60 et seq. (Dkt. No. 21 at 16-20.) Plaintiffs each have a mobility disability and alleged that two of the venues STG operates, the Paramount Theatre and the Moore Theatre, have not complied with accessibility standards required by the ADA. (Id. at 8-16.) Barriers to access included insufficient numbers of wheelchair accessible seats and companion seats, insufficient seating dimensions, and insufficient sightlines. (Id.) Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief to remedy these barriers to access, as well as reasonable attorney fees and costs. (Id. at 21-23.)

         The parties resolved all of Plaintiffs' claims by two offers of judgment, made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68. (See Dkt. Nos. 31, 39.) As part of the judgments, STG agreed to take remedial measures to eliminate the barriers to access identified in Plaintiffs' amended complaint. (Id.) Plaintiffs ask the Court to award attorney fees of $242, 377.50 (which represents the lodestar figure with a 1.5 multiplier) and costs of $3, 278.86. (Dkt. Nos. 42, 49.) STG opposes the requested attorney fees and asks the Court to order an award of no more than $60, 000.[1] (Dkt. No. 46.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Reasonable Attorney Fees

         The ADA allows a district court, in its discretion, to award reasonable attorney fees and costs to a prevailing party. 42 U.S.C. § 12205. Similarly, Revised Code of Washington section 49.60.030(2) provides that a plaintiff prevailing under a WLAD claim is entitled to recover “the cost of suit including reasonable attorneys' fees.” See also Broyles v. Thurston County, 195 P.3d 985, 1004 (Wash.Ct.App. 2008) (“Successful plaintiffs under the WLAD are entitled to recover their attorney fees and costs incurred in pursuing their claims.”).

         District courts employ a two-step process to calculate a reasonable fee award. Fischer v. SJB-P.D. Inc., 214 F.3d 1115, 1119 (9th Cir. 2000). First, the Court calculates the lodestar figure, which represents the number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983); Bowers v. Transamerica Title Ins. Co., 675 P.2d 193, 202 (Wash. 1983). Second, the Court determines whether to increase or reduce that figure based on several factors that are not subsumed in the lodestar calculation. Kelly v. Wengler, 822 F.3d 1085, 1099 (9th Cir. 2016) (citation omitted). There is a “strong presumption” that the lodestar figure represents the reasonable fee award. City of Burlington v. Dague, 505 U.S. 557, 562 (1992); 224 Westlake, LLC v. Engstrom Prop., LLC, 281 P.3d 693, 713 (Wash.Ct.App. 2012).

         B. Plaintiffs' Fee Request

         It is undisputed that Plaintiffs were the prevailing party in this action and are therefore entitled to reasonable attorney fees and costs pursuant to both the ADA and WLAD. (See Dkt. Nos. 31, 39, 46.) Plaintiffs' counsel submitted detailed billing records and the following information in support of their proposed fee award:

Professional [2]

Hourly Rate

Hours

Total Fees

Conrad Reynoldson [3]

$335.00

276.9

$92, 761.50

Mark Walters

$375.00

163.5

$61, 312.50

Jonathan Ko

$290.00

22.7

$6, 583

Danna Patterson

$80.00

11.6

$928

Total

N/A

476

$161, 585.00

(Dkt. Nos. 42 at 3-4; 43-2, 43-3, 43-4, 44-2.)

         1. Lodest ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.