United States District Court, D. Nevada
STEELMAN PARTNERS, a Nevada Limited liability partnership, Plaintiff,
SANYA GAOSHENG INVESTMENT COMPANY LTD, a Hong Kong corporation, Defendant.
FOLEY, JR. United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Costs and for Reasonable Attorney's Fees (ECF No. 116),
filed on July 5, 2016. To date, no party has filed a response
to this motion and the time for response has now expired.
case arises from allegations of breach of contract and
copyright infringement against Defendant Sanya Gaosheng. On
November 23, 2011, the Court granted default judgment to
Plaintiff in the amount of $3, 549, 854.00. See ECF
No. 60. In its effort to collect judgement, Plaintiff noticed
the deposition of Defendant Sanya Gaosheng pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) for April 24, 2015. Defendant Sanya
Gaosheng, however, failed to appear for the deposition.
Subsequently, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel and For
Sanctions (ECF No. 80), which was granted on October 2, 2015
(ECF No. 84). Thereafter, Plaintiff once again scheduled a
deposition of Defendant's 30(b)(6) witness to occur on
November 4, 2015 and Defendant failed to appear. Plaintiff
filed a Motion for Sanctions (ECF No. 92) for Defendant's
refusal to appear and on December 24, 2015, the Court awarded
Plaintiff its reasonable costs and attorney's fees
incurred in connection to the re-noticed deposition on
November 4, 2015. The Court indicated that it may stay or
vacate the award if Defendant appeared for a re-noticed Rule
re-noticed the deposition for March 4, 2016 and Defendant
once again failed to appear. On April 26, 2016, Plaintiff
filed its Motion for Sanctions (ECF No. 107) and requested
monetary sanctions and evidentiary sanctions finding that Mr.
Piu Ying Ngan and Mrs. Katherine Ngan (“the
Ngans”) are the alter egos of Defendant Sanya Gaosheng.
See ECF No. 115. The Court granted, in part, and
denied in part Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions.
Id. The Court denied without prejudice
Plaintiff's request for evidentiary sanctions against
Defendant and the Ngans. Id. The Court granted
Plaintiff's request for an award of attorney's fees
and costs incurred in re-noticing the Rule 30(b)(6)
deposition for March 4, 2016. Plaintiff now seeks an award of
$13, 201.22 for preparing for and attending the March 4, 2016
deposition and preparing the April 26, 2016 Motion for
Supreme Court has held that reasonable attorney fees must
“be calculated according to the prevailing market rates
in the relevant community, ” considering the fees
charged by “lawyers of reasonably comparable skill,
experience, and reputation.” Blum v. Stenson,
465 U.S. 886, 895-96 n. 11, 104 S.Ct. 1541 (1984). Courts
typically use a two-step process when determining fee awards.
Fischer v. SJB-P.D. Inc., 214 F.3d 1115, 1119 (9th
Cir. 2000). First, the Court must calculate the lodestar
amount “by taking the number of hours reasonably
expended on the litigation and multiplying it by a reasonable
hourly rate.” Id. Furthermore, other factors
should be taken into consideration such as special skill,
experience of counsel, and the results obtained. Morales
v. City of San Rafael, 96 F.3d 359, 364 n. 9 (9th Cir.
1996). “The party seeking an award of fees should
submit evidence supporting the hours worked and rates claimed
. . . [w]here the documentation of hours is inadequate, the
district court may reduce the award accordingly.”
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983).
Second, the Court “may adjust the lodestar, [only on
rare and exceptional occasions], upward or downward using a
multiplier based on factors not subsumed in the initial
calculation of the lodestar.” Van Gerwen v.
Guarantee Mut. Life Co., 214 F.3d 1041, 1045 (9th Cir.
requests a total of $13, 201.22 in attorney's fees and
costs associated with bringing the re-noticed deposition
scheduled to take place on March 4, 2016. Plaintiff itemized
their requested fees and costs as follows: (1) $2, 700.22 in
attorney's fees related to the March 4, 2016 deposition,
(2) $778.22 in costs related to the March 4, 2016 deposition,
and (3) $9, 723.00 in attorney's fees related to the
filing of Plaintiff's Motions for Sanctions. Plaintiff
requests reimbursement of attorney's fees at an hourly
rate of $330 for Peter X. Chen, Esq., $300 for James E.
Dallner, Esq., and $225 for John C. Hegarty, Esq. After
reviewing Plaintiff's Motion for Costs and for Reasonable
Attorneys' Fees and the declaration of James Dallner,
Esq., the Court finds that Plaintiff has offered sufficient
evidence that the hourly rates of $330, $300, and $235 are
requests reimbursement for 39.50 hours of attorney work based
on time spent in preparing its Motion for Sanctions (ECF No.
116). Plaintiff's counsel asserts that these hours are
reasonable given the complexity of the issues involved that
were distinct from the first motion for sanctions.
See ECF No. 116, pg. 4. The records submitted by
Plaintiff confirm that significant time was spent drafting
the motion. ECF No. 116-2. The Court recognizes that
Plaintiff's counsel would have spent a reasonable amount
of time on these matters, but based on its review of the
motion for attorneys' fees and the affidavit of Mr.
Dallner, the Court finds that Plaintiff's calculation of
39.50 hours of attorney labor is excessive. The Court finds
that the work involved in preparing the Motion for Sanctions
should reasonably take no more than 19.75 of attorney labor.
As a result, the Court will award Plaintiff reasonable
attorney's fees associated with bringing the Motion for
Sanctions in the total amount of $4, 861.50 (4.1hrs x $300,
14.6hrs x $235, and 1.05hrs x $330).
also requests reimbursement for 9 hours of attorney work on
time spend preparing for and attending the March 4, 2016
deposition. Although the Court recognizes that Plaintiff
would have spent a reasonable amount of time to prepare for
the deposition, the Court finds the Plaintiff's
calculation of 9 hours of attorney labor is excessive based
on its review of the motion and Mr. Dallner's affidavit.
The time spent related to the March 4, 2016 deposition should
reasonably take no more than 6.75 hours of attorney labor. As
such, the Court will award fees in the amount of $2, 025.00
(6.75hrs x $300). Lastly, Plaintiff requests reimbursement of
costs in the amount of $778.22 associated with the March 4,
2016 deposition. These costs included airfare, parking and
toll fees, mileage, and court reporter fees for the
deposition. The Court notes that the total amount itemized
for the costs as detailed in the chart attached at Exhibit
A-2 totals $587.27, but includes an invoice for court
reporter fees in the amount of $190.95. The Court therefore
finds that Plaintiffs request is reasonable and will award
Plaintiff a total of $778.22 in costs.
on the reasonable hourly rates discussed above, the Court
will award attorney's fees in the amount of $4, 861.50
and costs in the amount of $778.22. The relevant factors are
subsumed in this calculation of the reasonable attorneys'
fees and costs, and there are no other circumstances which
warrant enhancement or reduction of the fees. Accordingly,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion
for Costs and for Reasonable Attorney's Fees (ECF No.
116) is granted. Defendant is ...