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Swarbick v. Umpqua Bank

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


June 30, 2010

STEPHEN L. SWARBICK, CESAR LOPEZ AND ELIZABETH FESTEJO, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
UMPQUA BANK, WESTERN SIERRA NATIONAL BANK, AND DOES 1 THROUGH 20, INCLUSIVE. DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER

On June 22, 2010, this Court issued an Order (Docket No. 48) denying a Motion by Defendant Umpqua Bank ("Defendant") to Confirm Satisfaction of Judgment paid to Plaintiffs Stephen L. Swarbick and Elizabeth Festejo ("Plaintiffs") pursuant to a December 30, 2009 "Final Arbitration Opinion and Award" issued in favor of Plaintiffs and subsequently confirmed by this Court.

We now address the attorney's fees requested by both parties. Pursuant to Section 18(f) of the Employment Agreement between parties, "In the event of any arbitration or litigation...the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover from the losing party reasonable expenses, attorneys' fees and costs incurred...in the enforcement or collection of any judgment or award rendered therein." (Employment Agrmt. 9-10) Parties agreed to apply the substantive law of California. (Employment Agrmt. 9) California law permits recovery of attorney fees when authorized by contract. See Cal. Civ. Code 1717(a).

As the prevailing party, Plaintiffs are entitled to reasonable expenses, attorney's fees and costs in defending against Defendant's Motion to Confirm Satisfaction of Judgment. Plaintiffs request $13,584.00 for fees incurred in opposing Defendant's motion, reviewing the reply brief, and anticipated time spent at hearing on Defendant's motion. However, the Court ordered the matter submitted on the briefings and vacated the hearing. Consequently, the Court will not allow recovery of those projected fees. Plaintiffs' counsel, Dennis Murphy, quotes his hourly rate as $395.00. Therefore, when subtracting the two hours estimated for the anticipated hearing which did not occur, Plaintiffs' total becomes $12,794.00.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiffs are entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and costs in the amount of $12,794.00 and are awarded that amount.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20100630

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