United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
STEPHEN E. WHITTED, Plaintiff,
PETER JORDAN, et al., Defendants.
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendants Peter and Lori
Jordan's (collectively the “Jordans”) motion
for attorney fees (Dkt. No. 88) and Plaintiff Stephen
Whitted's response (Dkt. No. 91). Having considered the
parties' briefing, as well as the relevant record, the
Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the
Jordans' motion (Dkt. No. 88) for the reasons explained
Court has described the facts of this case in a prior order
and will not do so again. (See Dkt. No. 87.) On June
13, 2019, the Court granted the Jordans' motion for
summary judgment, dismissed Mr. Whitted's claims with
prejudice, and granted the Jordans' motion for sanctions
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. (Id.
at 30.) In granting the Jordans' motion for Rule 11
sanctions, the Court concluded that Mr. Whitted's claims
were frivolous and intended to harass the Jordans.
(Id. at 27-30.) The Court ruled that Mr. Whitted
would be required to pay the Jordans' reasonable fees
incurred in defending against this lawsuit. (Id. at
30.) The Jordans filed a timely motion for attorney fees
(Dkt. No. 88), and Mr. Whitted filed a timely response (Dkt.
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). 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). 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).
determine a reasonable billing rate, the Court generally
looks to “the forum in which the district court
sits.” Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin.,
Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 979 (9th Cir. 2008). The
presumptive reasonable hourly rate for an attorney is the
rate the attorney charges. Broyles v. Thurston Cty.,
195 P.3d 985, 1004 (Wash.Ct.App. 2008). The applicable
geographic area for determining a reasonable hourly rate for
the Jordans' counsel is the entire Puget Sound region.
Jordans' counsel, David Corbett, charges $150 per hour
for legal work and $50 per hour for clerical work. (Dkt. No.
89 at 2.) Mr. Corbett's rates are well below the rates
charged by most lawyers in the Puget Sound area and that have
been found to be reasonable by this Court. See,
e.g., Campbell v. Catholic Cmty. Servs. of W.
Washington, No. C10-1579-JCC, Dkt. No. 120 at 3 (W.D.
Wash. 2012) ($350/partner, $250/associates, $125/support
staff). The Court finds these rates particularly reasonable
given Mr. Corbett's education and experience.
(See Dkt. No. 89 at 1-2.)
number of hours to be compensated is calculated by
considering whether, in light of the circumstances, the time
could reasonably have been billed to a private client.”
Moreno v. City of Sacramento, 534 F.3d 1106, 1111
(9th Cir. 2008). A district court should exclude from the
lodestar amount hours that are not reasonably expended
because they are “excessive, redundant, or otherwise
unnecessary.” Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434. Mr.
Corbett submitted detailed billing records, which show that
he spent 277 hours on legal work and 22 hours on clerical
work. (Dkt. No. 89 at 2.) Having reviewed Mr. Corbett's
billing records, the Court does not find any excessive,
redundant, or unnecessary work that could not reasonably be
billed to a private client. Furthermore, Mr. Corbett
completed extensive motions practice in this case, including
a motion for summary judgment, motion for Rule 11 sanctions,
and a joint discovery motion. (See Dkt. Nos. 8, 38,
68.) In light of these circumstances, the Court finds that
Mr. Corbett reasonably expended 277 hours on legal work and
22 hours on clerical work.
Mr. Corbett's hourly rates with the total number of hours
expended gives a lodestar figure of $42, 705. The Court finds
that figure reasonable and places particular emphasis on the
results achieved by Mr. Corbett on behalf of the Jordans.
Although Mr. Whitted filed a response, he neither opposed Mr.
Corbett's billing rates nor suggested that the amount of
time Mr. Corbett expended on the case was unreasonable.
(See Dkt. No. 91.) In other words, Mr. Whitted does
not challenge the reasonableness of the Jordans' proposed
attorney fee award. Instead, Mr. Whitted argues that the
Court erred by granting Rule 11 sanctions. (Id.) Mr.
Whitted's response amounts to a motion for
reconsideration; however, the Court will not consider his
arguments because they are both untimely and improperly
filed. See W.D. Wash. Local Civ. R. 7(h) (“A
motion for reconsideration shall be plainly labeled as
foregoing reasons, and pursuant to the Court's prior
order (Dkt. No. 87), the Jordans' motion for attorney
fees is GRANTED. Mr. Whitted is ORDERED to pay the
Jordans' attorney fees in the amount of $42, 705 as a
sanction pursuant to Rule 11. Following the Court's entry
of final judgment, the Clerk is DIRECTED to close this case.
 The Court includes in its calculation
the 4.5 hours Mr. Corbett spent on drafting and filing the
Jordans' reply brief. (See Dkt. Nos. 92,
 Mr. Whitted was required to file a
motion for reconsideration by June 27, 2019. (See
Dkt. No. 87); W.D. Wash. Local Civ. R. 7(h). Mr.
Whitted's response was filed ...