Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Zoerb v. National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2006-3

United States District Court, S.D. California

April 5, 2017

DAWN ZOERB, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL COLLEGIATE STUDENT LOAN TRUST 2006-3, a Delaware statutory trusts; and LAW OFFICE OF PATENAUDE AND FELIX, A.P.C., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS

          Hon. Cynthia Bashant, United States District Judge

         Plaintiffs' counsel files a Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs requesting $125, 000 in attorneys' fees and $7, 500 reimbursement for costs. (ECF No. 47.) Defendants do not oppose. The Court held a hearing on the issue on April 3, 2017.

         After reviewing the time sheets and considering the arguments of counsel both oral and written, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs' request is reasonable and GRANTS the Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs.

         I. STATEMENT OF FACTS

         A. Underlying Case

         On March 3, 2014, Plaintiff Dawn Zoerb filed a civil class action alleging that Defendants, as assignees of student loan debts, failed to properly identify the original creditor in various state court collections actions. (ECF No. 1.) The case was eventually consolidated with ten other cases making the same allegations against Defendants. (ECF No. 22.)

         The Plaintiffs claim Defendants violated the FDCPA and Rosenthal Act by filing complaints in state court collections lawsuits falsely claiming that each Plaintiff had entered into a written loan contract with Defendants, when the Plaintiff in fact had never dealt with Defendants and had no idea who they were. (ECF No. 1.) Defendants, however, claim that the FDCPA is inapplicable and that because Plaintiffs received earlier notice of the Defendant Trusts taking over their loan obligations, Plaintiffs could not have been misled in the state court actions. (Joint Mot., ECF No. 43, ¶ IIB.)

         The parties met with a private mediator, the Hon. Herbert B. Hoffman (Ret.) on multiple occasions. All aspects of the settlement were extensively negotiated through numerous meetings, telephone conferences and exchanges of correspondence, with multiple drafts of the Settlement Agreement being prepared before it was presented for the Court's approval. (Joint Mot. ¶ 2(C).)

         B. Settlement and Attorneys' Fees

         Plaintiffs submit declarations detailing that hourly attorneys' fees expended on this case to date total $159, 971, more than the $125, 000 requested, and that costs advanced equal $8, 441.67, again more than the $7, 500 requested. (ECF No. 47.)

         II. ANALYSIS

         The FDCPA provides for mandatory attorney fees to be awarded to the successful consumer. Tolentino v. Friedman, 46 F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 1995); 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a). Courts have an obligation to ensure that the attorneys' fees award, like the settlement, is reasonable. In re Bluetooth Headsets Prods. Liab. Litig., 654 F.3d 935, 941 (9th Cir. 2011).

         However, “[u]nlike most private tort litigants [a plaintiff who brings an FDCPA action] seeks to vindicate important . . . rights that cannot be valued solely in monetary terms.” Tolentino, 46 F.3d at 652 (quoting City of Riverside v. Rivera, 477 U.S. 561, 574 (1986)). “The most useful starting point for determining the amount of a reasonable fee is the number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate.” Tolentino, 46 F.3d at 652 (quoting Hensley v. Eckenhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983)). The Court should also consider the novelty and difficulty of the litigated issues; preclusion of employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the case; results obtained; experience, reputation and ability of the plaintiffs' attorney; “undesirability” of the case and awards in similar cases. Id.

         Plaintiffs' counsel submits records detailing the number of hours worked on this case. The Court finds the number of hours as well as the hourly rate reasonable given the experience level of the attorneys involved. Thus, had plaintiffs' counsel been working for a client who paid a reasonably hourly wage, counsel would be entitled to $159, 971. Counsel is requesting less than this amount or $125, 000. The Court finds this is reasonable. Although the litigated issues were not novel or difficult, they did require much negotiation by the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.