United States District Court, D. Nevada
J. KOPPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Defendant's affidavit of reasonable
attorneys' fees incurred in bringing a motion for
sanctions for Plaintiff's violation of the Court's
discovery order. Docket No. 150.
November 29, 2018, Defendant filed a motion for sanctions for
violation of the Court's order to compel. Docket Nos.
103, 94. On January 29, 2019, the Court granted
Defendant's motion for sanctions and ordered Defendant to
submit an affidavit of reasonable attorneys' fees and
costs. Docket No. 142 at 10. The Court allowed Plaintiff to
respond no later than March 5, 2019; however, Plaintiff
failed to so do. See Docket.
already determined that Defendant is entitled to recover
attorneys' fees incurred in bringing its motion to
compel, Docket No. 142 at 10, the Court turns to the
calculation of the fees. Reasonable attorneys' fees are
generally calculated using the traditional
“lodestar” method. See, e.g.,
Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin'l, Inc., 523 F.3d 973,
978 (9th Cir. 2008). Under the lodestar method, the Court
determines a reasonable fee by multiplying “the number
of hours reasonably expended on the litigation” by
“a reasonable hourly rate.” See Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). The lodestar figure
is presumptively reasonable. Cunningham v. County of Los
Angeles, 879 F.2d 481, 488 (9th Cir. 1988).
touchstone in determining the hours for which attorneys'
fees should be calculated is whether the expenditure of time
was reasonable. See, e.g., Marrocco v.
Hill, 291 F.R.D. 586, 588 (D. Nev. 2013). The reasonable
amount of hours expended depends on the circumstances of each
case. See Camacho, 523 F.3d at 978. The Court has a
great deal of discretion in determining the reasonableness of
the fee, although the Court may exclude hours related to
overstaffing, duplication, and excessiveness. See Prison
Legal News v. Schwarzenegger, 608 F.3d 446, 453 (9th
Cir. 2010) (quoting Gates v. Deukmejian, 987 F.2d
1392, 1398 (9th Cir. 1992)); see also Hensley, 461
U.S. at 433. In making the determination of the
reasonableness of hours expended on such motions, “the
Court considers factors such as the complexity of the issues
raised, the need to review the record and pleadings, and the
need to conduct legal research, in addition to the length of
the briefing.” See, e.g., Marrocco,
291 F.R.D. at 588.
seeks to recover fees for 19.3 hours in preparing the motion
for sanctions. Docket No. 150 at 5. Defendant submits that
associate attorney Michael Cutler spent 17.5 hours preparing
its motion for sanctions between November 18, 2018, and
December 19, 2018. Docket No. 150 at 3. Defendant submits a
breakdown of the time Mr. Cutler spent working on the motion.
Docket No. 150-1. Defendant further submits that attorney
Richard Lazenby spent 1.8 hours working on the motion. Docket
No. 150 at 4. Defendant submits that Mr. Lazenby, a senior
attorney to Mr. Cutler, spent this time reviewing and
revising the motion. Docket No. 150-2.
Court has reviewed the hours submitted by Defendant. Most of
the work was completed by an associate attorney, and a small
amount of the time was expended by a senior attorney in
reviewing the associate's work. The Court finds that no
overstaffing or duplication of work occurred. Further, the
Court has considered the need to review the documents, the
complexity of the issues raised, and the length of the
briefing. The Court finds the reasonable hours expended by
Mr. Cutler on the motion for sanctions to be 8.75 hours
considering all the necessary factors. Further, the Court
finds that a total of one hour of work for Mr. Lazenby in
reviewing the motion for sanctions is reasonable. Therefore,
the Court finds that the reasonable hours are 9.75 for the
motion for sanctions.
determined the hours reasonably expended by counsel, the
Court turns to the hourly rate with which to calculate the
lodestar. The party seeking an award of attorneys' fees
bears the burden of establishing the reasonableness of the
hourly rates requested. Camacho, 523 F.3d at 980.
“To inform and assist the court in the exercise of its
discretion, the burden is on the fee applicant to produce
satisfactory evidence-in addition to the attorney's own
affidavits-that the requested rates are in line with those
prevailing in the community for similar services by lawyers
of reasonably comparable skill, experience and
reputation.” Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886,
895 n.11 (1984). The Court may also rely on its own
familiarity with the rates in the community to analyze those
sought in the pending case. Ingram v. Oroudjian, 647
F.3d 925, 928 (9th Cir. 2011). “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.” Perrigo v. Premium Asset Servs., LLC,
2015 WL 4597569, *10 (D. Nev. July 28, 2015).
case, Defendant seeks an hourly rate of $225 for Mr. Cutler,
an attorney with five years of experience and an hourly rate
of $350 for Mr. Lazenby, an attorney with twenty years of
experience. Docket No. 150. Counsel's declarations attest
to the background and biographical information for these
attorneys. Id. Accordingly, the Court finds the
hourly rates of $225 for Mr. Cutler and $350 for Mr. Lazenby