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Ruiz v. XPO Last Mile, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

April 20, 2017

FERNANDO RUIZ, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
XPO LAST MILE, INC., formerly AFFINITY LOGISTICS CORPORATION, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING (1) EX PARTE MOTION TO FILE SUR-REPLY AND (2) MODIFIED APPLICATION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS (ECF Nos. 328, 352)

          Janis L. Sammartino, United States District Judge

         Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs' Application for Attorneys' Fees and Costs (“Fee Appl.”), (ECF No. 328), Defendant's Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Application for Attorney Fees and Costs (“Opp'n”), (ECF No. 342), and Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Application for Attorneys' Fees (“Reply”), (ECF No. 347). Defendant has also submitted an Ex-Parte Motion to File Sur-Reply in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Fees and Costs, (“Sur-Reply Mot.”). (ECF No. 352.) The Court vacated the scheduled hearing and took the matter under submission without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). Having considered the Parties' arguments and the law, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Sur-Reply Mot. and GRANTS, after modification, Plaintiffs' Fee Application.

         BACKGROUND

         In August of 2015, the parties submitted to Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford a Joint Motion for Determination of Discovery Dispute. (ECF No. 275.) In the Joint Motion, Plaintiffs sought many specific documents Defendants' had previously failed to produce. (Order Granting in Part and Den. in Part Pls.' Mot. for Sanctions (“Sanctions Order”) 2, ECF No. 321.) Ultimately, Judge Crawford ruled in Plaintiffs' favor on all requests. (Order re Joint Mot. for Determination of Disc. Dispute 4-10, ECF No. 292.)

         After Judge Crawford's Order, Defendant produced more than 75, 000 pages of documents, barely any of which responded to Plaintiffs' request. (Sanctions Order 2-3.) Defendant, in part, explained the deficiency was due to lack of access to certain documents and other documents having potentially been “inadvertently disposed of some time during the past decade . . . .” (Id. 3.) Judge Crawford then held a status conference regarding the deficient discovery. (ECF No. 300.) Plaintiffs argued that Defendant had not complied with the Order Compelling Discovery; Defendant asserted compliance. (Sanctions Order 3.) Judge Crawford “invited Plaintiffs to make a motion under Rule 37 if they believed it was appropriate.” (Id.)

         Several weeks later, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Sanctions, (ECF No. 301), which the Court granted nearly in its entirety, (see generally Sanctions Order). Specifically, the Sanctions Motion requested relief in the form of:

(1) precluding Defendant from using or relying upon Settlement Statements, pay summaries, ADP Master Control Reports or documents from Paychex, Inc. to dispute the expense reimbursement estimates developed by Plaintiffs;
(2) precluding Defendant from using or relying upon Settlement Statements, pay summaries, ADP Master Control Reports or documents from Paychex, Inc. to support its defense of “enhanced compensation;”
(3) precluding Defendant from using or relying upon manifests or load out . . . / pay reports to dispute (a) the hours and mileage estimates developed by Plaintiffs and (b) the fuel expense estimates developed by Plaintiffs; and
(4) awarding Plaintiffs reasonable attorneys' fees and costs associated with the filing of this motion and the motion to compel.

(Sanctions Order 4.) The Court granted the requested relief in all aspects except as it pertained to the ADP Master Control Reports; i.e., Defendants are precluded from using or relying on all the above-cataloged documents except for ADP Master Control Reports. (Id. at 8.) The awarded relief also included reasonable attorney fees, (id.), the application for which, and documents in support of and in opposition to, are now presently before the Court.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         To calculate an appropriate attorney fee award, a court begins by “multiplying the number of hours reasonably spent on the litigation by a reasonable hourly rate.” McCown v. City of Fontana, 565 F.3d 1097, 1102 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983)). The number of hours reasonably spent on litigation does not include those “that are excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary.” Id. (quoting Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434). To determine the reasonable hourly rate, a court looks to the “rate prevailing in the community for similar work performed by attorneys of comparable skill, experience, and reputation.” Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin., Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 979 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Barjon v. Dalton, 132 F.3d 496, 502 (9th Cir.1997)). In this case, the relevant community is the Southern District of California because it is “the forum in which the district court ...


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