United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER (DOCKET NO. 173)
J. KOPPE, United States Magistrate Judge.
Court previously granted Plaintiff's motion to compel the
deposition of Defendant Pigeat, and for an award of
attorneys' fees. Docket No. 169. The only remaining
dispute is the calculation of the fees. Plaintiff submitted
proof of the attorney fees it incurred in filing the
underlying motion. Docket No. 173. Defendant Pigeat filed a
response in opposition, and Plaintiff filed a reply. Docket
Nos. 183, 186. The Court finds this issue properly resolved
without a hearing. See Local Rule 78-1. For the
reasons discussed more fully below, the Court calculates the
reasonable attorneys' fees at $4, 035.
attorneys' fees are generally calculated using the
traditional “lodestar” method. See,
e.g., Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin'l, Inc.,
523 F.3d 973, 978 (9th Cir. 2008). Under the lodestar method,
the Court determines a reasonable fee by multiplying
“the number of hours reasonably expended on the
litigation” by “a reasonable hourly rate.”
See Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983).
The lodestar figure is presumptively reasonable.
Cunningham v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 879 F.2d 481, 488
(9th Cir. 1988).
party seeking an award of attorneys' fees bears the
burden of establishing the reasonableness of the hourly rates
requested. Camacho, 523 F.3d at 980. “To
inform and assist the court in the exercise of its
discretion, the burden is on the fee applicant to produce
satisfactory evidence-in addition to the attorney's own
affidavits-that the requested rates are in line with those
prevailing in the community for similar services by lawyers
of reasonably comparable skill, experience and
reputation.” Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886,
895 n.11 (1984). “Affidavits of the [movant's]
attorney and other attorneys regarding prevailing fees in the
community, and rate determinations in other cases,
particularly those setting a rate for the [movant's]
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 familiarity with the rates in the
community to analyze those sought in the pending case.
Ingram v. Oroudjian, 647 F.3d 925, 928 (9th Cir.
case, Plaintiff seeks a rate of $325 per hour each for
Gregory T. Lawrence, a partner at Conti Fenn & Lawrence,
and Michael R. Kealy, Vice-President of Parsons Behle &
Latimer. Docket Nos. 173-2 at 3, 173-3 at 3. Plaintiff also
attaches biographies for these two attorneys, attesting to
their educational backgrounds and some of their
accomplishments. See Docket No. 173-4. Plaintiff
seeks a rate of $225 per hour each for associate attorneys in
Mr. Lawrence's firm. Docket No. 173-2 at 3. Finally,
Plaintiff seeks a rate of $135 per hour for paralegals in Mr.
Lawrence's firm. Id.
Defendant Pigeat does not dispute the reasonableness of these
rates, see, e.g., Docket No. 183 at 5, the Court
independently examines their reasonableness. The Court finds
the rates requested for Mr. Lawrence, Mr. Kealy, and Mr.
Lawrence's associates reasonable. See, e.g.,
Crusher Designs, LLC v. Atlas Copco Powercrusher
GmbH, 2015 WL 6163443, at *2 (D. Nev. Oct. 20, 2015)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The Court
need not determine the reasonableness of the paralegals'
rate, as the Court finds that no paralegal time was shown to
have been reasonably spent due to Defendant's failure to
appear at her deposition.
decided the hourly rate that should be applied in this case,
the Court turns to the hours reasonably expended. The Court
“has a great deal of discretion in determining the
reasonableness of the fee and, as a general rule, [an
appellate court] will defer to its determination . . .
regarding the reasonableness of the hours claimed by the
[movant].” Prison Legal News v.
Schwarzenegger, 608 F.3d 446, 453 (9th Cir. 2010)
(quoting Gates v. Deukmejian, 987 F.2d 1392, 1398
(9th Cir. 1992)). In reviewing the hours claimed, the Court
may exclude hours related to overstaffing, duplication, and
excessiveness, or that are otherwise unnecessary. See,
e.g., Hensley, 461 U.S. at 433; see also
Cruz v. Alhambra School Dist., 601 F.Supp.2d 1183, 1191
(C.D. Cal. 2009) (“the Court must eliminate from the
lodestar time that was unreasonably, unnecessarily, or
making this determination for hours expended on a discovery
motion, the Court eschews correlating the hours expended and
the number of pages submitted in briefing, as the length of
briefing is not in itself indicative of reasonable
expenditure of time. Compare Thompson v. Astrue,
2012 WL 5949218, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 28, 2012) (finding one
hour spent per page of “fairly routine” briefing
is not unreasonable) with Alutiiq Int'l Solutions,
LLC v. Lyon, 2012 WL 4182026, at *2, 4 (D. Nev. Sept.
17, 2012) (reducing hours for 13-page motion to compel from
13.8 hours to 4.0 hours). Instead, the reasonableness of
hours expended depends on the specific circumstances of each
case. Camacho, 523 F.3d at 978. To that end, in
determining the reasonableness of hours spent in relation to
a discovery motion, the Court considers factors such as the
complexity of the issues raised, the need to review the
record and pleadings, and the need to conduct legal research,
in addition to the length of the briefing. See Herb Reed
Enters v. Monroe Powell's Platters, 2013 U.S. Dist.
Lexis 97559, at *31 (D. Nev. July 11, 2013); see also
Easley v. U.S. Home Corp., 2012 WL 3245526, at *3 (D.
Nev. Aug. 7, 2012).
submits that the hours claimed should be adjusted downward
because, inter alia, the hours expended were
excessive. Docket No. 183 at 3-5. Defendant's assertion
appears to rest primarily on the number of attorneys working
on the case. See Id. at 5. Billed time that includes
unnecessary duplication of effort should be excluded from the
lodestar. Herrington v. Cty. of Sonoma, 883 F.2d
739, 747 (9th Cir. 1989); see also Cruz, 601
F.Supp.2d at 1191. “[C]ourts ought to examine with
skepticism claims that several lawyers were needed to perform
a task, and should deny compensation for such needless
duplication as when three lawyers appear for a hearing when
one would do.” Democratic Party of Wash. State v.
Reed, 338 F.3d 1281, 1286 (9th Cir. 2004) (internal
citations omitted). Of course, some duplication of effort is
necessary in any case. Moreno v. City of Sacramento,
534 F.3d 1106, 1112 (9th Cir. 2008).
Court has reviewed the billing records submitted by
Plaintiff. Docket Nos. 186-1, 186-2. The Court determines
that Mr. Lawrence reasonably spent 7.7 hours; Mr. Kealy
reasonably spent 1.6 hours; and Mr. Lawrence's associate
attorneys reasonably spent 4.5 hours of work as a result of
Defendant's failure to appear at her deposition.
light of the reasonable hours and rates determined above, the
undersigned hereby ...