DONALD CULLEN, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
NETFLIX, INC., Defendant.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES; DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES [Re: Docket Nos. 75, 78]
EDWARD J. DAVILA, District Judge.
Presently before the Court are the parties' motions for attorneys' fees and costs. The Court finds this matter suitable for submission on the papers and without oral argument pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7-1(b), and previously vacated the corresponding hearing date. Having fully reviewed the parties' papers the Court now issues the following rulings.
Detailed factual background and procedural history have been provided in this Court's Order Granting Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint ("SAC Order") (see Docket Item No. 50) and Order Granting's Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Third Amended Complaint ("TAC Order") (see Docket Item No. 68). The Court will provide background pertinent to the present motions.
This putative class action was initiated by Plaintiff Donald Cullen ("Plaintiff" or "Cullen"), a deaf individual, on March 11, 2011. Plaintiff has argued that Defendant Netflix Inc. ("Defendant" or "Netflix"), an online provider of video programming, provided insufficient accommodations to deaf subscribers and a lack of adequate support tools for deaf persons.
On March 11, 2011, Plaintiff filed the original Complaint. See Docket Item No. 1. This Complaint asserted that Defendant had violated the following laws: Title III of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181 et seq.; the California Unfair Competition Law ("UCL"), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200 et seq.; the California False Advertising Law ("FAL"), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17500 et seq.; the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act ("CLRA"), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 1750 et seq.; the California Unruh Civil Rights Act ("Unruh Act"), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51 et seq.; and the California Disabled Persons Act ("DPA"), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 54 et seq.
On April 9, 2011, Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), which asserted violations of the same statutes as did the original Complaint. See Docket Item No. 5. After Netflix filed a Motion to Dismiss the FAC, Plaintiff filed the Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") on September 5, 2011. See Docket Item No. 26. The SAC dropped the ADA claim and asserted violations of the UCL, FAL, CLRA, Unruh Act, and DPA. In an Order dated July 13, 2012, the Court dismissed the SAC in its entirety with leave to amend. See SAC Order.
On August 3, 2012, Plaintiff filed the Third Amended Complaint ("TAC"), which dropped the Unruh Act and DPA claims but asserted claims of violations of the UCL, FAL, and CLRA. See Docket Item No. 52. In an Order dated January 10, 2013, the Court dismissed the TAC in its entirety without leave to amend and entered judgment in favor of Defendant Netflix. See Docket Item Nos. 68, 69. Plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 14, 2013. See Docket Item No. 70.
The parties filed their Motions for Attorney's Fees on February 7, 2013. Plaintiff seeks $262, 641.00 in fees and $2, 167.35 in costs. See Pl.'s Mot. for Attorney's Fees, Docket Item No. 75. Netflix seeks $167, 074.59 in fees. See Def.'s Mot. for Attorney's Fees, Docket Item No. 78.
II. Legal Standard
"Generally, litigants in the United States pay their own attorneys' fees, regardless of the outcome of the proceedings." Staton v. Boeing Co. , 327 F.3d 938, 965 (9th Cir. 2003). "However, in order to encourage private enforcement of the law[, ] Congress has legislated that in certain cases prevailing parties may recover their attorneys' fees from the opposing side. When a statute provides for such fees, it is termed a fee shifting' statute." Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin., Inc. , 523 F.3d 973, 978 (9th Cir. 2008).
"District courts must calculate awards for attorneys' fees using the lodestar' method, and the amount of that fee must be determined on the facts of each case." Id . (citing Hensley v. Eckerhart , 461 U.S. 424, 429 (1983)). "The lodestar' is calculated by multiplying the number of hours the prevailing party reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable hourly rate." Id . "Although in most cases, the lodestar figure is presumptively a reasonable fee award, the district court may, if circumstances warrant, adjust the lodestar to account for other factors which are not subsumed within it." Id.
III. Plaintiff Cullen's Motion for Attorney's Fees
Plaintiff argues that he is entitled to attorney's fees under what he considers to be three "fee-shifting" statutes: the CLRA, the DPA, and the California Private Attorneys General Act ("PAGA") of 2004. The CLRA provides that the court "shall award court costs and attorney's fees to a prevailing plaintiff in a litigation filed pursuant to this section." Cal. Civ. Code § 1780(e). The DPA provides that the "prevailing party in the action shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees." Id . § 55. The ...