United States District Court, D. Nevada
E&R VENTURE PARTNERS, LLC, a California limited liability company, Plaintiff,
PARK CENTRAL PLAZA 32, LLC, a revoked Nevada limited liability company, Defendant
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Memorandum of
Expenses Filed in Compliance with Order Granting
Plaintiff's Motion to Compel and Denying Defendant's
Counter-Motion for Protective Order (ECF No. 38), filed on
May 15, 2017. Defendant filed its Opposition (ECF No. 40) on
May 30, 2017. Plaintiff filed its Reply (ECF No. 41) on June
matter arises from a breach of contract, breach of implied
covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraudulent transfer,
and declaratory relief dispute regarding an agreement for
legal services. Plaintiff is an assignee of Enenstein
Ribakoff Lavina & Pham, APC which represented Defendant
Park Central Plaza 32, LLC in a lawsuit against Nevada State
Bank (“NSB”). Defendant and NSB settled the case
in November 2015. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant received a
payment of money pursuant to the settlement. Plaintiff seeks
recovery of fees that its assignor is allegedly entitled to
pursuant to its agreement for legal services with Defendant.
See Complaint (ECF No. 1).
April 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel Defendant
to disclose information and documentation concerning the NSB
settlement agreement. Defendant filed its response (ECF No.
27) on April 19, 2017 and Plaintiff filed its reply (ECF No.
31) on April 26, 2017. Defendant filed its motion for
protective order (ECF No. 29) on April 24, 2017. Plaintiff
filed its response (ECF No. 34) on April 28, 2017. The Court
conducted a hearing in this matter on May 1, 2017. The Court
granted Plaintiff's motion to compel Defendant to
disclose information and documentation concerning the NSB
settlement agreement on May 2, 2017. ECF No. 36. The Court
further awarded Plaintiff its reasonable expenses, including
attorney's fees, incurred in pursuing its motion to
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 $269.16 in costs and $21, 072.00 in attorney's
fees based on 44.8 hours of work performed drafting briefs
for the motion to compel, performing legal research, drafting
its response to Defendant's motion for protective order,
and attending the hearing set on the motions. That amount is
based on work performed by Tamara Beatty Peterson, Esq. at an
hourly rate of $495.00, Nikki L. Baker, Esq. at an hourly
rate of $475.00, and Benjamin K. Reitz, Esq. at an hourly
rate of $270.00. Defendant argues that Defendant's
counsel's hourly rates are excessive and unsubstantiated.
Opposition (ECF No. 40), pg. 4. After reviewing
Plaintiff's memorandum of expenses and affidavit of
Benjamin K. Reitz, Esq., the Court finds that Plaintiff has
offered sufficient evidence that the respective hourly rates
of Plaintiff s counsel are reasonable.
requests reimbursement for 44.8 hours of work based on time
spent on Plaintiffs motion to compel and responding to
Defendant's related motion for protective order.
Defendant argues that the amount of time expended is grossly
disproportionate for the nature of the motion and that
Plaintiffs counsel's individual billing entries appear to
be excessive. Opposition (ECF No. 40), pg. 3. The
records submitted by Plaintiff confirm that significant time
was spend drafting the motion and reply. ECF No. 38-2. Based
on its review of the billing records and affidavit of
counsel, the Court finds that Plaintiffs calculation of 44.8
hours is excessive. The Court finds that the work involved in
preparing the motion to compel, the associated reply, the
response to Defendant's motion for protective order, and
preparing for and attending the hearing should be reduced to
21.4 hours of attorney labor. As a result, the Court will
award Plaintiff reasonable attorney's fees associated
with bringing the motion to compel in the amount of $10,
Plaintiff requests reimbursement of costs in the amount of
$269.16 associated with performing legal research. Costs
incurred in conducting legal research can be recoverable as a
reasonable expense under Rule 37(a)(5). Greene v. Alan
Wexler Grp. Charter Servs., LLC, 2014 WL 1347788, at *3
(D. Nev. Apr. 4, 2014). Counsel attests in his affidavit that
costs incurred for electronic legal research were
specifically for the motion to compel and responding to
Defendant's motion for protective order. The Court finds
the costs incurred to be reasonable and awards Plaintiff
$269.16 in costs for legal research. Accordingly, IT
IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Memorandum of
Expenses Filed in Compliance with Order Granting Plaintiffs
Motion to Compel and Denying Defendant's ...