United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
BRUCE BYLES, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ACE PARKING MANAGEMENT, INC., Defendant.
RICHARD A. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs unopposed motion
for attorney fees and costs and for class representative
service award (Dkt. No. 36). Having thoroughly considered the
parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court
hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons explained herein.
facts of this case have been discussed in prior orders, and
the Court will not repeat them here. (See Dkt. Nos.
24, 33, 42.) Most recently, the Court granted Plaintiffs
unopposed motion for final approval of class action
settlement. (See Dkt. No. 42.) Plaintiff now moves
for an award of attorney fees.
Attorney Fee Request
the Court may award attorney fees to a prevailing party, the
Court must determine that the award is
"reasonable." See Hensley v. Eckerhart,
461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). 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 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). Second, the Court may adjust this figure
based on several factors not included in the lodestar
calculation. See Kelly v. Wengler, 822 F.3d 1085,
1099 (9th Cir. 2016). There is a "strong
presumption" that the lodestar figure represents'
the reasonable fee. See 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 reasonable hourly rate is
determined "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." Welch v. Metro. Life Ins.
Co., 480 F.3d 942, 946 (9th Cir. 2007). The Court finds
that the proposed rates for the attorneys-$550 per hour for
Darrell L. Cochran, $300 per hour for Christopher E. Love,
$400 per hour for Loren A. Cochran, $450 per hour for Thoams
B. Vertetis, and $300 per hour for Kevin M. Hastings-are
reasonable compared to similar attorneys in the Seattle area.
(See Dkt. No. 37.)
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). Counsel "should make a good faith
effort to exclude from a fee request hours that are
excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary . . . ."
Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434. The Court finds that the
number of hours expended was reasonable. First, counsel put
forward significant effort in ensuring that the majority of
the work was performed by junior attorneys who billed at
lower rates. (Dkt. No. 37 at 19-23.) Second, the total amount
of hours spent on this litigation-288.3-is reasonable
considering the age of the case, the procedural history which
included an appeal, settlement negotiations, and dispositive
motions practice. (See Dkt. No. 37.) Therefore, the
Court finds that Plaintiffs calculation of a lodestar figure
of $94, 660 is accurate and reasonable.
under a percentage-of-recovery cross check, a requested fee
award under fee shifting statutes is reasonable when it does
not exceed "half of the total amount of money going to
class members and their counsel." Tait v. BSH Home
Appliances Corp., 2015 WL 4537463, slip op. at 14 (CD.
Cal. 2015) (quoting Pearson v. NBTY, Inc., 772 F.3d
778, 782 (7th Cir. 2014)). The amount requested here-$80,
000-constitutes half of the total $160, 000 going to class
members and their counsel. Additionally, class counsel is
requesting $80, 000, instead of the total $94, 660 lodestar
figure. This further supports the finding that class
counsel's requested fee award of $80, 000 is reasonable.
Plaintiff Byles's Service Award
awards given to lead plaintiffs help promote the public
policy of encouraging individuals to undertake the
responsibility of representative lawsuits. Rodriguez v.
W. Publ'g Corp., 563 F.3d 948, 958-59 (9th Cir.
2009). Plaintiff Byles participated meaningfully in a
contested lawsuit, remained willing to provide assistance to
the parties for over three years, and provided class counsel
with evidence of the claims and his consent to make strategic
decisions about the case. (See Dkt. No. 36 at 10.)
Therefore, the Court finds that class counsel's request
of a $15, 000 award for Plaintiff Byles is reasonable.
foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs unopposed motion for attorney
fees and costs and for class representative ...