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Carpenters Pension Trust Fund For Northern California, et al. v. Mark Alan Lindquist

September 29, 2011

CARPENTERS PENSION TRUST FUND FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, ET AL.
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MARK ALAN LINDQUIST, DEFENDANT.



ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES 8

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the court is a Motion for Attorney's Fees filed by Plaintiffs Board of Trustees of the Carpenters Pension Trust 18 Fund for Northern California, et al. ("Plaintiffs"), against 19 Defendant Mark Alan Lindquist ("Defendant"). ECF No. 50 20 ("Mot."). Defendant did not file an Opposition. 21

II. BACKGROUND

This action arises from Plaintiffs' efforts to recover 24 withdrawal liability from Defendant under the Employee 25 Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"). On July 19, 2011, the 26 Court granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs. The 27 Court held that, pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1451(b), Plaintiffs 28 were entitled to $954,508.00 in unpaid principal withdrawal liability, $95,450.80 in liquidated damages, applicable interest 2 in an amount to be determined, and attorney's fees and costs. 3

Id. at 17. The Court granted Plaintiffs thirty days to file a 4 motion for attorneys' fees and costs. Id. On August 11, 2011, 5 Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion requesting attorney's fees 6 in the amount of $51,825.00 and costs in the amount of $515.58.

Mot. at 2. On August 12, 2011, Defendant appealed the grant of 8 summary judgment against him. ECF No. 52 ("Not. of Appeal."). 9 10 be reasonable and GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion. The Court STAYS this Order until Defendant's appeal is resolved.

Under ERISA, the award of reasonable attorney's fees and 15 costs to a pension plan is mandatory in all actions to collect 16 unpaid employer withdrawal liabilities. Lads Trucking Co. v. 17 F.2d 1371, 1373-75 (9th Cir. 1985). To calculate reasonable 19 attorney's fees in such an action, district courts utilize a 20 two-step "hybrid lodestar/multiplier" approach. Welch v. 21 First, the court establishes a lodestar by multiplying the 23 number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation by a 24 reasonable hourly rate. Id. In determining a reasonable hourly 25 rate, the court should consider "the experience, skill, and 26 reputation of the attorney requesting fees." Id. at 946. The 27 party seeking fees bears the burden of documenting the hours 28 expended in the litigation and must submit evidence supporting For the following reasons, the Court finds these amounts to

III. LEGAL STANDARD 14

Board of Trustees, W. Conf. Teamsters Pension Trust Fund, 777 18 Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 480 F.3d 942, 945 (9th Cir. 2007).

those hours and the rates claimed. Second, in "rare and 2 exceptional cases," the district court may adjust the lodestar 3 upward or downward using a multiplier based on facts not 4 subsumed in the initial lodestar calculation. Id. 5 6

Plaintiffs' counsel have submitted detailed billing records 8 demonstrating that they spent 222.8 hours litigating the instant 9 case. ECF Nos. 50-1 ("McDonough Decl."), 50-2 ("Billing attending case management conferences, conferring with 12

IV. DISCUSSION

Records"). These hours comprise time spent preparing pleadings, Defendant, propounding requests for admissions and requests for 13 production of documents, taking Defendant's deposition, 14 preparing the motion for summary judgment, and preparing the 15 instant Motion. McDonough Decl. ¶ 8; Billing Records.

Plaintiffs have provided an itemized accounting of the number of 17 hours spent on each task. Id. The Court finds the hours to 18 have been ...


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