United States District Court, D. Nevada
SHIGE TAKIGUCHI; et. al., Plaintiffs,
MRI INTERNATIONAL; et. al., Defendants.
D. MCKIBBEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court are the Suzukis's motion for September 2016
legal fees and expenses (ECF No. 519), the Plaintiffs'
response (ECF No. 538), and the Suzukis's reply (ECF No.
546). For the reasons stated below, the Suzukis's motion
is granted in part and denied in part.
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.'”
Tracy v. Cytta Corp., No. 2:15-cv-2029-RCJ-GWF, 2016
WL 259696 at* 1 (D.Nev. Jan. 21, 2016)(citing Blum v.
Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895-96 n. 11, 104 S.Ct.1541
(1984)). When determining the reasonableness of
attorney's fees, the court calculates the lodestar amount
“by taking the number of hours reasonably expended on
the litigation and multiplying it by a reasonable hourly
rate.” Fischer v. SJB-P.D. Inc., 214 F.3d
1115, 1119 (9th Cir. 2000). In rare and exceptional
circumstances, the court may then adjust the lodestar amount
based on factors not considered during the initial
calculation. Van Gerwen v. Guarantee Mut. Life Co.,
214 F.3d 1041, 1045 (9th Cir. 2000).
2016, the court capped the Defendants' monthly
attorney's fees at $10, 000. (ECF No. 443) Any request
for attorney's fees that exceeded this amount must be
approved by the court before being distributed to defense
counsel. (Id.) Pursuant to the June 2016 order, the
Defendants filed a motion for attorney's fees in excess
of $10, 000. (ECF No. 519) They request $48, 521.90 in
attorney's fees for September 2016. In addition to their
motion, the Defendants also submitted itemized billing
invoices from their lead counsel, Paul Hastings, and local
counsel, McDonald Carano.
Defendants' fee request is discounted for two reasons.
First, the Defendants' redactions prevent the court from
performing a complete lodestar calculation. For example, on
September 4, 2016, Attorney Rotstein billed 1.1 hours for
“Research case law regarding.” (ECF No. 519-2 at
5) This is the entirety of this billing entry. The rest of
the description is redacted. (Id.) Without an
adequate description of the work performed, the court is
unable to determine the reasonableness of this and other
similarly redacted time entries. Pursuant to this ruling,
Attorney Rotstein's hours billed are reduced by 15.4
hours, Research Librarian Elizabeth Elliot's hours billed
are eliminated entirely, and Attorney Peter Brejcha's
billed hours are reduced by 5.7 hours. These hours represent
time entries where the redaction has made it impossible for
the court to determine the reasonableness of the time
expended for the work performed.
the Defendants continue to devote an inordinate amount of
time to preparing their monthly fee applications. With minor,
month-specific variations, the Defendants file substantially
similar fee applications each month. The court expected the
amount of time devoted to the monthly fee application to
decrease over time as defense counsel became more familiar
with the relevant facts and case law. Instead, defense
counsel billed 17.8 hours for preparing the June 2016 fee
application. (ECF No. 507) This figure increased to 20.8
hours for preparing the July 2016 fee application (ECF No.
504). In its order granting in part and denying in part
Defendants' August 2016 fee application, the court
limited the release of funds for work related to the monthly
fee application. (ECF No. 585) Funds for approximately 14
hours of attorney time were released to compensate defense
counsel for work performed on the July 2016 fee application.
September 2016 fee application, Defendants billed 19.3 hours
for work related to the previous month's fee application.
(ECF No. 519) This amount is excessive. Given defense
counsel's familiarity with its monthly billing and the
regularity of its fee applications, the court permits defense
counsel to recover for a maximum of 8 hours related to work
on the monthly fee application. Four hours are billed at
Attorney Rotstein's hourly rate of $250.00. Three hours
are billed at Attorney Puathasnanon's hourly rate of
$550.00. The remaining one hour is billed at Attorney
Morgan's hourly rate of $650.00. This division of time
approximates the proportional amount of fee work each
and for good cause shown, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the
Suzukis's motion for fees (ECF No. 519) is GRANTED in
part and DENIED in part.
FURTHER ORDERED that $34, 600.00 is released to Paul Hastings
for legal fees and expenses billed in September 2016.
FURTHER ORDERED that $1, 000.00 is released to McDonald
Carano for legal fees and expenses billed in September 2016.