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Citroen v. Micron Optics, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

October 3, 2017

ROBERT L. CITROEN, LAW CORPORATION, a Nevada corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
MICRON OPTICS, INC., a Georgia corporation, et al., Defendants. MICRON OPTICS, INC., a Georgia corporation, Counterclaimant,
v.
ROBERT L. CITROEN, LAW CORPORATION, et al., Counterdefendants.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM G. COBB, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         On August 28, 2017, the court issued an order granting Defendant/Counterclaimant Micron Optics, Inc.'s (Micron) Motion to Compel Income and Tax Records. (Motion at ECF Nos. 42, 42-1 to 42-16, Order at ECF No. 52.) In that order, the court made a finding that the non-disclosure, responses and objections of Plaintiff/Counter-Defendants Robert L. Citroen, Law Corporation and Robert L. Citroen (collectively, Citroen) were not substantially justified. (ECF No. 52 at 10-11.) As a result, the court granted Micron's request for an award of reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred in connection with the motion to compel. (Id. at 11.) The court directed Micron to file a document setting forth the reasonable expenses, and allowed Citroen to file a response, and Micron to file a reply. (Id.)

         Micron's counsel filed a declaration and supporting documentation in connection with Micron's request for fees. (ECF Nos. 56, 56-1, 56-2.) Citroen filed a response (ECF Nos. 62, 62-1, 62-2), and Micron filed a reply (ECF No. 63).

         Micron seeks to recover $5, 831.85 in fees for 22.87 hours of time at an hourly rate of $255 spent related to the motion to compel. The time spent is itemized as follows:

Date

Attorney

Task

Hours

Amount

March 13, 2017

Ketner

Preparation of meet and confer letter

.37

$94.35 [1]

April 13, 2017

Ketner

Attended meet and confer conference

.3

$76.50 [2]

July 3, 2017

Ketner

Preparing for meet and confer conference

.14

$35.70 [3]

July 3, 2017

Ketner

Attended meet and confer

.26

$66.30 [4]

July 12-13-, 2017

Paek

Research in support of motion to compel

4.5

$1, 147.50

July 12-13, 2017

Park

Drafting motion to compel

7.5

$1, 912.50

July 18, 2017

Ketner

Revising and finalizing motion to compel

1.6

$408

August 3, 2017

Ketner

Reviewing opposition to motion to compel

.3

$76.50

August 8, 2017

Ketner

Researching authority cited in Plaintiff's opposition

.4

$102

August 10, 2017

Ketner

Preparing reply

3.2

$816

August 24, 2017

Ketner

Preparing supplement to reply

.6

$153

August 25, 2017

Ketner

Preparing for hearing on motion to compel

1.5

$382.50

August 25, 2017

Ketner

Traveling to and from and attending the hearing

2.2

$561

TOTAL

$5, 831.85

         Citroen opposes the amount of fees requested, arguing: (1) it is based on estimates of the amount of time spent on issues raised in the motion to compel when the local rule governing requests for attorney's fees requires an itemization of the costs and the actual time and labor spent; (2) the declaration in support of the request for fees does not contain all information required by Local Rule 54-14; (3) the time spent to prepare the motion totals 13.6 hours, which Citroen deems excessive and unreasonable for a seventeen-page motion; (4) the time spent preparing the reply, 3.2 hours, for a five-page motion is excessive; (5) the .6 hours spent preparing the supplemental brief is unreasonable because supplemental briefing is not permitted; and (6) the time spent preparing for the hearing, and the 2.2 hours spent traveling to and attending the hearing is excessive.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Citroen spends a good deal of time in its response raising arguments concerning the merits of the motion to compel, which the court has already decided. While the court certainly respects the opinions cited by Citroen of other judges within this district, as well as State Court Discovery Commissioner Wes Ayres, the court is not obligated to follow these opinions. Notably, Citroen did not cite the decisions and opinions he now relies on in his response to the motion to compel, and made no attempt to discuss how the circumstances presented in those cases are analogous to those here. Citroen was free to file an objection to the underlying order granting the motion to compel, but did not, and the time to do so has expired. Arguments as to the propriety of the order granting the motion to compel are therefore remiss.

         Citroen also argues that the court should exercise its discretion to deny the requested fees because the tax documents it was ordered to produce do not show income from the sources sought by Micron. Simply because the financial documents may not show the information that Micron hoped to glean from them does not mean that Micron was not entitled to discovery of the documents in the first place, as the court already determined. Had Citroen merely provided the relevant documents in the first place with a protective order to alleviate any privacy concerns, neither the parties nor the court would have had to expend time and resources in resolving this dispute.

The court will now turn to the substance of the fee request.
If the motion [to compel] is granted-or if the disclosure or requested discovery is provided after the motion was filed-the court must, after giving an opportunity to be heard, require the party or deponent whose conduct necessitated the motion, the party or attorney advising that conduct, or both to pay the movant's reasonable expenses incurred in making the motion, including attorney's fees.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A).

         This is the rule, unless there was no good faith meet and confer effort before the motion was filed, which is not the case here, or the opposing party's nondisclosure was substantially justified, and the court has already concluded it was not. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A)(i)-(ii).

         A. Estimates of Certain Portions of Fees Requested & ...


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