United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
MACHINISTS, DISTRICT LODGE 725'S MOTION FOR
A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
fight between Eagle and Union continues. Plaintiff Eagle
Systems and Services, Inc. (“Eagle”) punched
first when it allegedly violated the Collective Bargaining
Agreement (“CBA”). Defendant International
Association of Machinists, District Lodge 725
(“Union”) hit back by prevailing in arbitration.
Eagle, unshaken, filed a complaint in this Court to vacate
that award. ECF No. 1. Feeling sucker punched, Union moved to
dismiss and counter moved to confirm the award. ECF No. 7.
This Court declared Union the winner by a TKO and awarded
attorneys' fees. Order, ECF No. 25. Having reviewed the
parties' briefs, see Mot., ECF No. 27;
Opp'n, ECF No. 28; Reply, ECF No. 29, the Court now sets
the amount of the attorneys' fees awarded to Union at
this Court's previous Order details the underlying
dispute that generated this litigation, the Court will not
repeat the facts. See generally Order. Equally
important, although Eagle “did not challenge the
Court's [bad faith] ruling, ” see
Opp'n at 1, Eagle still disputes whether its conduct
constituted an unjustified refusal to abide by an arbitration
award. This Court already concluded it did. See
Order at 18-20 (explaining Eagle sought to frustrate the
award by unjustifiably refusing to abide by the
arbitrator's decision). Eagle does not get a second bite
at the apple.
evaluating requests for attorneys' fees, the court always
begins by calculating the lodestar amount, which involves
multiplying the number of hours reasonably expended by a
reasonable hourly rate. See Hensley v. Eckerhart,
461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). A court should exclude from this
initial calculation any “excessive, redundant, or
otherwise unnecessary” hours expended. See id.
inquiry does not end there. There remain other factors that
may compel a court to “adjust the fee upward or
downward.” See id. These include:
(1) the time and labor required; (2) the novelty and the
difficulty of the questions involved; (3) the skill requisite
to perform the legal service properly; (4) the preclusion of
other employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the
case; (5) the customary fee; (6) whether the fee is fixed or
contingent; (7) time limitations imposed by the client or the
circumstances; (8) the amount involved and the results
obtained; (9) the experience, reputation, and ability of the
attorneys; (10) the “undesirability” of the case;
(11) the nature and length of the professional relationship
with the client; and (12) awards in similar cases.
Kerr v. Screen Extras Guild, Inc., 526 F.2d 67, 70
(9th Cir. 1975), abrogated on other grounds by City of
Burlington v. Dague, 505 U.S. 557 (1992). These
Kerr factors, however, are often subsumed within the
lodestar amount, so courts must ensure they account for any
potential overlap. See Cunningham v. Cty. of Los
Angeles, 879 F.2d 481, 487 (9th Cir. 1989). And,
finally, this district's Local Rule 293(c)(13) adds one
more factor: “[S]uch other matters as the Court may
deem appropriate under the circumstances.”
party seeking fees should provide documentary evidence
showing “the number of hours spent, and how it
determined the hourly rate(s) requested.” McCown v.
City of Fontana, 565 F.3d 1097, 1102 (9th Cir. 2008).
Then the opposing party must submit specific rebuttal
evidence “challenging the accuracy and reasonableness
of the hours charged or the facts asserted by” the
moving party. Gates v. Gomez, 60 F.3d 525, 534-35
(9th Cir. 1995).
requests $32, 968.75 in attorneys' fees, arguing that
these were reasonably and necessarily incurred, especially
given labor arbitration's compensation and deterrence
goals. See generally Mot. Union contends that the
Court need not make a lodestar adjustment. See id.
at 8. As further explained below, the Court disagrees.
determine the reasonableness of the hourly rates requested, a
court looks to the prevailing market rates in the relevant
community for “similar work performed by attorneys of
comparable skill, experience, and reputation.” Blum
v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895 (1984); Chalmers v.
City of Los Angeles, 796 F.2d 1205, 1210-11 (9th Cir.
1986). The relevant community is generally the forum in which
the district court sits-not where counsel's firm resides.
Barjon v. Dalton, 132 F.3d 496, 500 (9th Cir. 1997).
The “burden is on the fee applicant to produce
satisfactory evidence-in addition to the attorney's own
affidavits-that the requested [hourly] rates are in line with
those prevailing in the community for similar services by
lawyers of reasonably comparable skill, experience, and
reputation.” Blum, 465 U.S. at 895 n.11.
states the requested rates “reflect the market rates .
. . in the Bay Area and Sacramento Valley.” Mot. at 4.
Although Eagle does not challenge the hourly rates Union
seeks, See Opp'n at 2 (disputing only the hours
expended), the Court finds it unreasonable to, as Union does,
treat the Bay Area and Sacramento Valley as the same
“community.” Indeed, courts in this district
treat the two separately. See Jones v. Cty. of
Sacramento, No. 09-1025, 2011 WL 3584332, at *8 (E.D.
Cal. Aug. 12, 2011); Beecham v. City of West
Sacramento, No. 07-1115, 2009 WL 3824793, at *4 (E.D.
Cal. Nov. 16, 2009).
distinction matters because the parties litigated the
case-the case underlying Union's Motion for
Attorneys' Fees-in Sacramento where this Court sits.
See Barjon, 132 F.3d at 500. Because it would be
unreasonable to accept rates based on a market different from
where the case was litigated, the Court rejects any hourly
rates based on Bay ...