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Cytosport, Inc., A California v. Monster Muscle

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


November 21, 2012

CYTOSPORT, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MONSTER MUSCLE, INC., A NEW YORK BUSINESS ENTITY, DEFENDANT.

ORDER

Plaintiff commenced this action on April 27, 2011, by filing a complaint and paying the required filing fee. (Compl. (Doc. No. 1.)) On June 1, 2012, plaintiff filed a motion for default judgment and noticed the matter for hearing before the undersigned pursuant to Local Rule 302(c)(19). On June 29, 2012, the matter came before the undersigned and plaintiff's counsel was directed to file a supplemental declaration in support of plaintiff's request for attorneys' fees.

On July 13, 2012, plaintiff's counsel filed a supplemental declaration, "to provide more explicit evidentiary support for the billable time and costs underlying Plaintiff's request for an award of attorneys' fees and cost." (Doc. No. 25 at 2.) The undersigned reviewed plaintiff's filing and initially believed that it appeared the information submitted was sufficient to allow a determination with respect to the reasonableness of plaintiff's requested attorneys' fees award.

Upon closer examination of the documents submitted, however, it is now clear that plaintiff's filing is deficient. In this regard, plaintiff seeks an award of attorneys' fees based upon the work performed by attorneys working for two separate law firms - Millstone, Peterson & Watts, LLP and Thorpe, North & Western, LLP. The documents submitted in support of the portion of the attorneys' fees attributable to the work performed by attorneys from Thorpe, North & Western, however, provide only the total amounts billed by the firm to plaintiff. There is no reference to the number of hours worked or the rate billed per hour. (Doc. No. 25-2 at 2-17.)

Although the Lanham Act permits the court in exceptional cases to award reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party, "[t]he amount of attorney's fees to be awarded . . . is determined by utilizing the lodestar method." Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Future Group LLC, No. 1:12-cv-456 AWI DLB, 2012 WL 3156798, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 1, 2012). "The 'lodestar' is calculated by multiplying the number of hours the prevailing party reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable hourly rate." Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin., Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 978 (9th Cir. 2008).

In this regard, without knowing the total hours expended by each attorney from Thorpe, North & Western on plaintiff's behalf, and that attorney's applicable hourly rate, the undersigned cannot determine if plaintiff's requested amount of attorneys' fees is reasonable.*fn1 Accordingly, plaintiff will be provided a final opportunity to submit the necessary documentation in support of its requested award of attorneys fees.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that within thirty days of the date of this order plaintiff shall submit further supplemental documentation in support of its requested award of attorneys' fees.


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