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At&T Mobility LLC v. Yeager

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 11, 2014

AT&T MOBILITY LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
GENERAL CHARLES E.

ORDER

KIMBERLY J. MUELLER, District Judge.

A motion to intervene filed by Parsons Behle & Latimer, PLC (PBL) and a motion to substitute Connie Bowlin in her capacity as executor and representative for the Estate of Ed Bowlin in place of decedent Ed Bowlin are both pending before the court. Defendant Yeager has opposed the motion to intervene; no one has opposed Mrs. Bowlin's motion. The court ordered both matters submitted on the pleadings and now GRANTS both motions.

I. BACKGROUND

On November 21, 2007, Robert Eliason with the law firm of Wild, Carter & Tipton filed a complaint on Yeager's behalf against AT&T, raising claims of the violation of the common law right of privacy and California Civil Code § 3344, among other claims. Yeager v. AT&T, Civ. No. S-07-2517 KJM GGH ("Yeager docket"), ECF No. 1.

On September 9, 2008, the court granted Eliason's motion to withdraw as counsel and substituted plaintiff in propria persona. ECF No. 31. On March 16, 2009, Steven McDonald of De La Pena & McDonald LLP substituted in as counsel for Yeager. Yeager docket, ECF No. 33.

On March 8, 2010, the court granted plaintiff's substitution of attorney, relieving attorney McDonald and substituting Charles Harder of Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schuman & Rabkin, LLP as counsel and substituting plaintiff in propria persona. Yeager docket, ECF No. 73. On October 19, 2010, the court granted Harder's motion to withdraw as counsel and substituted plaintiff in propria persona. Yeager docket, ECF No. 84.

On June 25, 2010, Connie Bowlin, Ed Bowlin and Aviation Autographs (the Bowlins), judgment creditors, filed a lien. Yeager docket, ECF No. 77.

On November 16, 2010, attorney Joanna Mendoza substituted in as counsel for plaintiff. Yeager docket, ECF No. 88. The court granted Mendoza's motion to withdraw on April 11, 2011, again substituting Yeager in propria persona. Yeager docket, ECF Nos. 95 & 96.

On October 12, 2011, attorney John Zarian of Zarian Midgley & Johnson PLLC substituted in as counsel for Yeager. Yeager docket, ECF No. 106. In November 2011, Zarian Midgley merged with Parsons Behle. See AT&T Mobility v. Yeager, et al., Civ. No. S-13-0007 KJM DAD (AT&T docket), ECF No. 72-3 ¶ 4.

On June 8, 2012, Yeager prevailed in a jury trial against AT&T on his claim that AT&T violated his right to publicity under California Civil Code § 3344 by using plaintiff's name to promote its cell phone service. Yeager docket, ECF No. 222. The jury awarded Yeager $135, 000. Yeager docket, ECF No. 227 at 2.

On June 13, 2012, attorney Mendoza filed a notice of a lien claim. Yeager docket, ECF No. 231. She withdrew the lien claim on March 21, 2013. Yeager docket, ECF No. 296.

Yeager filed a motion for attorney's fees on July 9, 2012. Yeager docket, ECF No. 243. In support of the motion for attorneys' fees, Yeager submitted billing records from counsel Zarian Midgley & Johnson and its successor firm Parsons, Behle & Latimer as well as billing records from his many former counsel. See generally Yeager docket, ECF No. 243.

De La Pena & McDonald filed a notice of a lien claim on August 22, 2012, but withdrew it on April 23, 2013. Yeager docket, ECF Nos. 259, 300.

On December 18, 2012, the court granted plaintiff's motion for $160, 757 fees for PBL's work on the case, but denied his request for $132, 150.72 in fees owed to his previous counsel, holding that the invoices of the previous counsel were not properly authenticated. Yeager docket, ECF No. 270 at 5. The court also granted in part plaintiff's request for costs under California Civil Code § 3344, granting $5728.42 of the $15, 437.72 requested, and granted in part plaintiff's request for costs under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) (granting $7100.30 of the $36, 681.63 requested). Id. The court directed AT&T to remit a total of $173, 585.72 within fourteen days of the date of the order. Id.

On December 28, 2012, the Bowlins filed a motion to intervene as judgment lien creditors, seeking an order for disbursement of funds. Yeager docket, ECF No. 271.

On January 2, 2013, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a supplemental motion for attorneys' fees. Yeager docket, ECF No. 277. In that motion, Yeager sought an award of $26, 039 in attorneys' fees and additional costs incurred between July ...


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