United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER ON ZONES' MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS'
HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the motion by Plaintiff
Zones, Inc. (“Zones”) for attorneys' fees.
Dkt. # 31. The Court GRANTS the motion.
March 12, 2018, the parties entered into a Settlement
Agreement to resolve all claims asserted in this lawsuit.
Dkt. #26-2. Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement,
Defendant Evergreen Information Techology Services, Inc.
(“Evergreen”) agreed to provide Zones with a
signed and notarized Confession of Judgment. Id. at
3, 10-13. Although Evergreen signed both the Settlement
Agreement and the Confession of Judgment, Evergreen failed to
provide Zones with a notarized signature on the Confession of
Settlement Agreement gave Zones the ability to take immediate
legal action against Evergreen upon breach. Dkt. # 26-2 at 3.
The Settlement Agreement also contains an attorneys' fees
clause, which provides that in the event of breach, the
non-prevailing party shall be liable to the prevailing party
for all costs and expenses, including attorneys' fees,
incurred in connection with enforcing the Agreement.
Id. at 5.
March 26, 2018, Zones filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement
Agreement and for Entry of Judgment. Dkt. # 25. This Court
granted Zones' motion on April 24, 2018. Dkt. # 29. The
order states that “Evergreen shall pay all costs and
expenses, including attorneys' fees, incurred by Zones in
connection with enforcement of the Settlement
Agreement” and that “Zones shall apply to this
Court for an award for these additional amounts by way of
cost bill, at which time this Court shall issue an amendment
to this order adding the amount of these additional costs and
ordering the entry of an amended judgment.”
Id. On May 10, 2018, filed this motion for
attorneys' fees. Dkt. # 31.
Court turns to the calculation of attorneys' fees. The
proper way for the Court to determine attorneys' fees and
costs is by using the lodestar method. To calculate the
lodestar amount, the Court multiplies the number of hours
reasonably expended by the reasonable hourly rate. In re
Washington Pub. Power Supply Sys. Sec. Litig., 19 F.3d
1291, 1295 n.2 (9th Cir. 1994); United Steelworkers of
Am. v. Phelps Dodge Corp., 896 F.2d 403, 406 (9th Cir.
1990); Bowers v. Transamerica Title Ins. Co., 100
Wash.2d 581, 597 (1983). The hours reasonably expended must
be spent on claims having a “common core of facts and
related legal theories.” Martinez v. City of
Tacoma, 81 Wash.App. 228, 242-43 (1996); Webb v.
Sloan, 330 F.3d 1158, 1168-69 (9th Cir. 2003). The Court
discounts hours spent on unsuccessful claims, overstaffing,
duplicated or wasted effort, or otherwise unproductive time.
Chalmers v. City of Los Angeles, 796 F.2d 1205, 1210
(9th Cir. 1986), opinion amended on denial of
reh'g, 808 F.2d 1373 (9th Cir. 1987);
Bowers, 100 Wash.2d at 597, 600. The Court may
adjust the lodestar calculation “up or down to reflect
factors, such as the contingent nature of success in the
lawsuit or the quality of legal representation, which have
not already been taken into account in computing the
‘lodestar' and which are shown to warrant the
adjustment by the party proposing it.” Id. at
594 (citing Miles v. Sampson, 675 F.2d 5, 8 (1st
Cir. 1982)) (emphasis in original); see also
Chalmers, 796 F.2d at 1212.
Reasonably Hourly Rate
established rate for billing clients may be a reasonable
hourly rate, but it is not conclusive. Bowers, 100
Wash.2d at 597. In addition to the established rate, the
court may consider the level of skill required by the
litigation, time limitations imposed on the litigation, the
amount of the potential recovery, the attorney's
reputation, and the undesirability of the case. Id.;
see also Chalmers, 796 F.2d at 1210-11. Affidavits
of the attorney and other attorneys regarding prevailing fees
in the community, and rate determinations in other cases,
particularly those setting a rate for an 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). The Court may also rely on
its own knowledge and familiarity with the legal market in
setting a reasonable hourly rate. Ingram v.
Oroudjian, 647 F.3d 925, 928 (9th Cir. 2011).
hourly rates of Zones' counsel are reasonable based on
counsel's relative experience and prevailing market
rates. See Dkt. # 32. Maria Milano has 19 years of
experience and billed at a rate of $490 per hour.
Id., ¶ 5. Zones' lead counsel, Ward
Morrison, has 29 years of experience and billed at a rate
below that. Id., ¶ 4. The reasonableness of
these rates is supported by this district's case law.
See Paulson v. Principal Life Ins. Co., 16-5268 RBJ,
2017 WL 4843837, at *4 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 26, 2017) (approving
hourly rate of $500 for attorney with approximately 20 years
of experience); see also Lauer v. Longevity Med. Clinic
PLLC, C13-0860 JCC, 2016 WL 2595122, at *3 (W.D. Wash.
May 4, 2016) (approving hourly rate of $500).
same is true regarding the rates of Shata Stucky and Laura
Hansen. This Court recently approved rates of $350, $295, and
$290 per hour for associate attorneys. WhoToo, Inc. v.
Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., C15-1629-RAJ, 2017 WL
3485735, at *2 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 15, 2017). Stucky and Hansen
are associates with comparable hourly rates. Dkt. # 32 at 2.