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Mordechai Orian, et al. v. Federation International Des Droits De

March 22, 2012

MORDECHAI ORIAN, ET AL.
v.
FEDERATION INTERNATIONAL DES DROITS DE L'HOMME, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, United States District Judge

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

O

#32/35

Present: The Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, United States District Judge

Wendy K. Hernandez Not Present n/a Deputy Clerk Court Reporter Tape No. Attorneys Present for Plaintiff(s): Attorneys Present for Defendant(s): Not Present Not Present

Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order GRANTING Defendants' Motions for Attorneys'

Fees and Costs

Before the Court is Defendants Kav LaOved and Federation International des Droits de L'Homme's motions for attorneys' fees and costs. Dkts. # 32, 35. The Court finds the matters appropriate for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15. Having considered the papers submitted in support of the motions, the Court GRANTS the motions for attorneys' fees and costs.

Background

Plaintiffs Mordechai Orian and Global Horizons, Inc. ("Global Horizons") (collectively as "Plaintiffs") brought this action against defendants Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, Sidiki Kaba, Abdelaziz Bennani, Federation International des Droits de L'Homme ("FIDH"), and Kav LaOved ("Kav") (FIDH and Kav as "Defendants"). Dkt. #1. Plaintiff Global Horizons is a contractor for labor from foreign countries. Compl. ¶ 2. Plaintiff Orian is the President and Chief Strategic Officer of Global Horizons. Compl. ¶ 1. The entity defendants are human rights organizations and the individual defendants are employees of those organizations. Compl. ¶¶ 3-6. Plaintiffs brought causes of action for libel per se and tortious interference with business relationships based on Defendants' publication of allegedly defamatory material regarding Plaintiffs' treatment of foreign laborers in Israel. Compl. ¶¶ 25-29, 33-35.

Defendants Kav and FIDH both brought motions to dismiss the Complaint, as well as special motions to strike under California Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16 (the "anti-SLAPP motions"). Dkts. # 7, 17, 18. Plaintiffs did not file an opposition to any of the motions to strike or dismiss. Instead, after the deadline for an opposition had passed, Plaintiffs filed a notice of dismissal to dismiss this action without prejudice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i). Dkt. #25. Kav thereafter filed a response opposing Plaintiffs' unilateral dismissal of this action, arguing Plaintiffs could not dismiss in order to avoid paying attorneys' fees and costs. Dkt. #26.

On December 13, 2011, the Court dismissed the case pursuant to Plaintiffs' Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a) motion. See Dkt. # 31, Order Dismissing Case. However, the Court also found that by filing a Rule 41(a) motion to dismiss Plaintiffs could not automatically escape the mandatory attorneys' fees and costs due to a prevailing defendant on an anti-SLAPP motion. at 5. The Court held that Kav and FIDH would have prevailed on the anti-SLAPP motions and Plaintiffs had made no attempt to show their dismissal was for reasons unrelated to the merits of the anti-SLAPP motions. Id. Therefore, the Court deemed Kav and FIDH to be the prevailing parties on the anti-SLAPP motions, and invited Kav and FIDH to file motions to fix attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to the mandatory provisions of California Code of Civil Procedure §425.16(c). Id. In accordance with the Court's order, Defendants have moved for awards of attorneys' fees and costs. Dkts. # 32, 35. The hearing on the attorneys' fee motions was set for March 26, 2012. Plaintiffs Mordechai Orian and Global Horizons, Inc. have not filed oppositions to the motions.

Legal Standard

The customary method of determining reasonable attorneys' fees, including fee awards on anti-SLAPP motions to strike, is known as the "lodestar" method. See Morales v. City of San 96 F.3d 359, 363 (9th Cir. 1996); Ketchum v. Moses, 24 Cal. 4th 1122, 1131-34, 104 Cal. Rptr. 2d 377 (2001). The "lodestar" method involves "multiplying the number of hours the prevailing party reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable hourly ...


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