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RPA International Pty Ltd. v. Compact International

January 31, 2008

RPA INTERNATIONAL PTY LTD., D/B/A NUFURN PTY LTD.; NUFURN, INC. AND DENNIS MICHAEL KRAWCHUCK, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COMPACT INTERNATIONAL, INC.; LEE JOHNSON, AN INDIVIDUAL; PRE SALES, INC.; ERIC SEGAL, AN INDIVIDUAL; BZ GLOBAL SDN. BHD.; BZ GLOBAL (H.K.) LIMITED; CHEE CHOON CHEAH, AN INDIVIDUAL; AND KOK CHEONG SOO, AN INDIVIDUAL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge

ORDER

The matters before the Court are the review of the Report and Recommendation (Doc. # 100) filed on November 2, 2007 by the United States Magistrate Judge Anthony J. Battaglia and the Petition for Attorneys' Fees (Doc. # 106) filed by Plaintiffs RPA International Pty Ltd., Nurfurn, Inc. and Dennis Michael Krawchuck.

Background

On May 26, 2006, RPA International Pty Ltd., d/b/a Nufurn Pty Ltd., Nufurn, Inc. and Dennis Michael Kdawchuck ("Plaintiffs") filed a Complaint for patent infringement under 35 U.S.C. §§ 271 et seq. (Doc. #1).

On September 13, 2006, Defendants Chee Choon Cheah ("Cheah"), Kok Cheong Soo, Compact International, Inc., Lee Johnson ("Johnson"), PRE Sales, Inc., Eric Segal, BZ Global Sdn. Bhd., and BZ Global HK Limited filed an Answer to the Complaint. (Doc. # 15).

On August 1, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a "Motion to Compel Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Written Discovery Requests Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.37" ("Motion to Compel"), which requested an order requiring defendants Cheah and Johnson to respond to Plaintiffs' First Set of Interrogatories and First Set of Document Requests served on May 18, 2007, and awarding reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in connection with bringing the Motion to Compel. (Doc. # 84).

On September 10, 2007, Magistrate Judge Battaglia issued an Order Granting the Motion to Compel. (Doc. # 89). The Order provided that Cheah and Johnson "shall completely respond to Plaintiffs' First Set of Interrogatories and produce all documents responsive to Plaintiffs' First Set of Document Requests on or before September 25, 2007," and that "Cheah and Johnson are warned that failure to comply with this order will result in this Court recommending to the district judge that Defendants' Cheah and Johnson actions manifest the requisite fault justifying Defendants' Cheah and Johnson answer be stricken and default judgment be entered pursuant to Fed. Rules Civ. Proc. Rule 37(d)." Id.

On October 1, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a "Statement Regarding Defendants' Failure to Comply with the September 10, 2007 Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Regarding Cheah and Johnson," which "submits that a recommendation should be made to Judge Hayes that [Cheah and Johnson] be held in default under Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(c); 37(c)(1) and 37(d)." (Doc. # 93). Plaintiffs contend that "[a] default judgment against Cheah and Johnson is appropriate" because "Mr. Cheah and Mr. Johnson are in violation of the Court's September 10, 2007 Order requiring their compliance with Nurfurn's discovery requests." Statement, p. 2. Plaintiffs assert that default judgment should be entered against Cheah and Johnson pursuant to Rules 37(b)(2)(c), (c)(1) and (d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Id. at 3. Plaintiffs also move for "reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in connection with the August 1, 2007 Motion to Compel, the Reply in Support, and this Statement pursuant to Rule 37(a)(4)(A); 37(c)(1); and 37(d)." Id.

On November 2, 2007, Magistrate Judge Battaglia issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R"). The Magistrate Judge determined that "case terminating sanctions" were appropriate in light of "Cheah and Johnson's repeated failure to comply with the rules of discovery or court orders enforcing such rules." Id. at 2. The Magistrate Judge determined, however, that default judgment was inappropriate because "no damages have been established and there are claims proceeding against the remaining Defendants," and recommended that this Court enter default against Cheah and Johnson pursuant to Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. R&R, p. 2-3; see Frow v. De La Vega, 82 U.S. 552, 554 (1872). The Magistrate Judge also stated that "Plaintiffs may submit for the Court's consideration and review, declarations and supporting documentation for attorneys' fees and costs incurred in connection with the August 1, 2007 motion to compel, the reply, and this statement pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(4)(A); 37(c)(1) and 37(d)." Id.

The parties did not file objections to the R&R.

On December 14, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a Petition for Attorneys' Fees ("Petition for Fees"). The Petition for Fees seeks attorneys' fees and costs associated with the Motion to Compel, the Reply to the Motion to Compel, the Statement Regarding Defendants' Failure to Comply and the Reply in Support of Report and Recommendation, totaling $6,175.00. Petition for Fees, p. 2. Plaintiffs submitted an itemized list of attorney's fees, stating fees of $2,321.25 for the Motion to Compel, $1,392.50 for the Response in Support of Motion to Compel, $1,156.25 for the Statement Regarding Defendants' Failure to Comply, and $1,305.00 for the Reply in Support of Report and Recommendation. Id. Plaintiffs also submitted the Declaration of Amanda L. Lowerre, who attests that attorney Amanda L. Lowerre billed 23.65 hours at a rate of $200.00 per hour and attorney Philip T. Petti billed 3.4 hours at a rate of $425.00 per hour for the preparation and filing of the above motions. Cheah and Johnson did not file objections to the Petition for Attorneys' Fees.

Standard of Review

The duties of the district court in connection with a Report and Recommendation of a Magistrate Judge are set forth in Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). When the parties object to a Report and Recommendation, "[a] judge of the [district] court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the [Report and Recommendation] to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149-50 (1985). When no objections are filed, the district court need not review the Report and Recommendation de novo. Wang v. Masaitis, 416 F.3d 992, 1000 n. 13 (9th Cir. 2005); United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121-22 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc). ...


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