United States District Court, D. Nevada
U.S. BANK, N.A., Plaintiff,
RECOVERY SERVICES NORTHWEST, INC., d/b/a CUSTOM RECOVERY, et al., Defendants.
FOLEY, JR. United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Memorandum of
Attorneys' Fees and Costs (ECF No. 107), filed on October
28, 2016. Defendant filed an Opposition (ECF No. 110) on
November 9, 2016 and Plaintiff filed a Reply (ECF No. 117) on
November 16, 2016.
25, 2016, Plaintiff U.S. Bank filed a motion for sanctions
against Defendant Custom Recovery arguing that Defendant
failed to provide an adequately prepared Rule 30(b)(6)
witness.Motion for Sanctions (ECF No. 85).
Defendant responded on August 10, 2016 and asserted that
sanctions were not appropriate because Plaintiff's
counsel did not object to the testimony of Defendant's
Rule 30(b)(6) witness during the deposition and because
Plaintiff's counsel did not attempt to meet and confer
prior to requesting sanctions. Opposition (ECF No.
91) The Court held a hearing in this matter on August 29,
2016 and issued a written decision on October 13, 2016,
wherein the Court granted Plaintiff's motion and found
that an evidence preclusion sanction as well as monetary
sanctions were appropriate. See Order (ECF No. 103).
As ordered, Plaintiff filed this Memorandum of Attorneys'
Fees and Costs requesting reimbursement of fees and costs in
the amount of $29, 228.17.
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 $27, 188.57 in attorneys' fees and
$665.00 in paralegal fees “associated with scheduling
and conferring, preparing for and conducting the deposition
(of Defendant's Rule 30(b)(6) witness), preparing,
researching and drafting the Motion for Sanctions, Reply, and
Motion to Strike Custom's Memo is Issue for Hearing,
attending the hearing, and similar services...”
Memorandum (ECF No. 107), 5:15-18. Plaintiff
requests reimbursement of attorneys' fees at an hourly
rate of $354.38 for attorney Ryan Looksevelt,
It also requests reimbursement of paralegal fees at an hourly
rate of $166.25 for Michelle Wood. After reviewing
Plaintiff's Memorandum of Attorneys' Fees and Costs
and the declaration of Ryan Loosevelt, Esq., the Court finds
that Plaintiff has offered sufficient evidence that the
hourly rate of $354.38 is reasonable. This conclusion is also
in line with the prevailing rates in the relevant community.
See Marrocco v. Hill, 291 F.R.D 586, 589 (D. Nev.
2013) (finding the reasonable hourly rate in the Nevada
community to be $375-$400 for partner with over thirty-five
years of experience); Perrigo v. Premium Asset Servs.,
LLC, 2015 WL 4597569, *10 (D. Nev. July 28, 2015)
(“Rate determinations in other cases in the District of
Nevada have found hourly rates as much as $450 for partners
and $250 for an experienced associate to be the prevailing
market rate in this forum.”). However, Plaintiff's
counsel's requested rate for his paralegal exceeds the
reasonable rates in this forum. Generally, paralegals command
rates between $75 and $125. Watson v. NCO Fin. Sys.,
Inc., 2015 WL 1959163, at *2 (D. Nev. Apr. 29, 2015)
(finding $125 to be reasonable); Plaza Bank v. Alan Green
Family Trust, 2013 WL 1759580, *2 (D. Nev. Apr. 24,
2013) (finding $100 to be reasonable); Agarwal v. Oregon
Mut. Ins. Co., 2013 WL 5882710, at *2 (D. Nev. Oct. 30,
2013) (finding $75 to be reasonable). Therefore, the Court
will reduce Plaintiff's requested paralegal rate to $125
based on the fact that Ms. Woods has 17 years of experience
as a paralegal.
counsel represents that he expended a total of 68.7 hours for
the various activities associated with the deposition of
Defendant's 30(b)(6) witness as well as 9 hours of work
spent in connection with opposing Defendant's objection
to this Court's Order. Memorandum (ECF No. 107),
pgs. 5-6; Reply (ECF No. 117), pg. 2. In addition,
Plaintiff's counsel represents that his paralegal,
Michelle Wood, expended 4 hours of time. Counsel believes
that these hours are reasonable because the work performed
“resulted in successfully precluding Custom from
offering evidence it failed to offer at the deposition which
directly impacts summary judgment and trial.”
Memorandum (ECF No. 107), 4:8-9. Defendant's
counsel does not object to Plaintiff's counsel's
hourly rates, the amount of time expended, or the overall fee
request. Rather, Defendant argues that Plaintiff's
counsel's “legal services preparing U.S. Bank's
Motion for Sanctions had no value, because the
motion requested relief based on a known false representation
that U.S. Bank's motion complied with FRCP 37(d).”
Opposition (ECF No. 110), 6:22-25 (emphasis in
original). The Court previously disposed of Defendant's
argument. See Order (ECF No. 103), pg. 6-7. There,
the Court found that the meet and confer requirement found in
Rule 37(d) did not apply to the circumstances of this case
and Defendant's argument was therefore without merit.
Id. This ruling has also been upheld by the District
Judge following Defendant's objection. See Order
(ECF No. 147). Therefore, based on a review of the
itemization of attorneys' fees and the declarations of
Ryan Loosevelt, Esq., the Court finds that the amount of time
expended was reasonable and will award Plaintiff the
following: $27, 188.57 in attorney's fees and $500 in
paralegal fees for a total of $27, 688.57.
also requests reimbursement in the amount of $1, 374.60 in
costs incurred from obtaining the deposition transcript of
Defendant's Rule 30(b)(6) witness, James Morin. It
asserts that these costs should be reimbursed because
Defendant's discovery misconduct rendered Mr. Morin's
testimony useless and a waste of time. The Court agrees. The
Court will therefore award Plaintiff costs in the amount of
based on the reasonable hourly rates discussed above, the
Court will award attorneys' fees (including paralegal
fees) in the amount of $27, 688.57 and costs in the amount of
$1, 374.60 for a total of $29, 063.17. The relevant factors
are subsumed in this calculation of the reasonable
attorneys' fees and costs, and there are no other
exceptional circumstances which warrant enhancement or
reduction of the fees. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
Defendant Custom Recovery is ordered to pay Plaintiff U.S.
Bank the sum total of $29, 063.17. Defendant is further
ordered to make the payment to Plaintiff by April 6,
 The facts and circumstances
surrounding Plaintiff's motion for sanctions are
thoroughly discussed in the Court's October 13, 2016
Order and are incorporated by reference herein. See
Order (ECF No. 103).
 Plaintiff's counsel's usual
rate is $405 per hour. However, Holland & Hart LLP
provides U.S. Bank with a 12.5% ...