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Crossfit, Inc. v. Cueto Davalos

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

April 25, 2017

CROSSFIT, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
ANDRES DEL CUETO DAVALOS, Defendant.

          ORDER AWARDING PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS

          BETH LABSON FREEMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On February 24, 2017, this Court granted Plaintiff CrossFit, Inc. (“CrossFit”)'s motion for default judgment against Defendant Andres Del Cueto Davalos (“Del Cueto”) and entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff. ECF 45, 46. The Court awarded CrossFit attorney's fees and litigation costs incurred in this action, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a), the amount to be determined after the entry of default judgment. Order Granting Pl.'s Mot. for Default J. Against Def. Andres Del Cueto Davalos (“Prior Order”) 5-6, ECF 45. Presently before the Court is the Declaration of Christopher D. Dusseault in support of CrossFit's schedule of attorney's fees and bill of costs. Dusseault Decl., ECF 47. CrossFit seeks to recover $107, 874.52 in fees and $1, 752 in costs. Dusseault Decl. ¶¶ 10, 21. Because the Court has already determined that an award of fees and costs is appropriate, the Court must now determine whether Plaintiff's attorney rates and the claimed costs are reasonable.

         In calculating awards for attorneys' fees, courts use “the ‘lodestar' method, and the amount of that fee must be determined on the facts of each case.” Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin., Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 978 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Ferland v. Conrad Credit Corp., 244 F.3d 1145, 1149 n.4 (9th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); see also 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.” Morales v. City of San Rafael, 96 F.3d 359, 363 (9th Cir. 1996) opinion amended on denial of reh'g, 108 F.3d 981 (9th Cir. 1997). The moving party bears the burden of providing relevant documentation demonstrating the reasonableness of the hours spent on the litigation. Hensley, 461 U.S. at 433. In the absence of adequate documentation supporting the number of hours expended on the lawsuit, “the district court may reduce the award accordingly.” Id. “The district court also should exclude from this initial [lodestar] calculation hours that were not ‘reasonably expended.'” Id. at 434 (quoting S. Rep. No. 94-1011, p. 6 (1976)).

         When determining the reasonable hourly rate, the court must weigh the “experience, skill, and reputation of the attorney requesting fees, ” and compare the requested rates to prevailing market rates. Chalmers v. City of Los Angeles, 796 F.2d 1205, 1210 (9th Cir. 1986) opinion amended on denial of reh'g, 808 F.2d 1373 (9th Cir. 1987); see also Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 886 (1984). Once calculated, the lodestar amount, which is presumptively reasonable, may be further adjusted based on other factors not already subsumed in the initial lodestar calculation. Morales, 96 F.3d at 363-64, 363 nn.3-4 (identifying factors) (citing Kerr v. Screen Guild Extras, Inc., 526 F.2d 67, 70 (9th Cir. 1975)).

         A. Reasonableness of Rates

         Plaintiff seeks to recover fees for work performed by six attorneys: Chris Dusseault, Perlette Jura, Abbey Hudson, Ilissa Samplin, Tom Pack, and Jose Massas Farell, as well as two paralegals. Their hourly rates and titles are as follows:

Attorney

2014 Reduced Rate

2015 Reduced Rate

2016 Reduced Rate

Title

Chris Dusseault

$540

$610

$680

Partner

Perlette Jura

$515

$555

$595

Partner

Abbey Hudson

$515

$555

$595

Litigation Associate

Ilissa Samplin

$375

$435

$495

Litigation Associate

Tom Pack

$375

$435

$495

Former Litigation Associate

Jose Massas Farell

-

-

$295

Mexican Counsel

Paralegal A

-

-

$135

Paralegal

Paralegal B

-

-

$115

Paralegal

Dusseault Decl. ¶¶ 6, 9. In support of their request, Plaintiff, who bears the burden of establishing reasonableness, states that the rates listed above have been found reasonable by other courts in this district. Id. (citing Ferris v. All. Publ'g Inc, No. 15-cv-5675, 2016 WL 7116110 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 6, 2016)).

         “In the Bay Area, ‘reasonable hourly rates for partners range from $560 to $800, for associates from $285 to $510, and for paralegals and litigation support staff from $150 to $240.'” In re LinkedIn User Privacy Litig., 309 F.R.D. 573, 591-92 (N.D. Cal. 2015). Plaintiff's requested rates fall well within these parameters, and, based on the Court's prior experience, the Court find these rates to be reasonable in light of the attorneys' skill and experience.

         B. Reasonableness of Hours

         The Court next considers the reasonableness of the hours expended. The Court cannot “uncritically” accept the plaintiff's representations; rather, it must assess the reasonableness of the hours requested. Sealy, Inc. v. Easy Living, Inc., 743 F.2d 1378, 1385 (9th Cir. 1984). In making this determination, the Court can reduce hours when documentation is inadequate, or when the requested hours are redundant, excessive, or unnecessary. Hensley, 461 U.S. at 433-34.

         Plaintiff expended 238.9 hours by the attorneys and paralegals mentioned above, however only seeks compensation for 179.2 hours. Dusseault Decl. ¶ 7. Plaintiff submitted hourly records divided by task, as follows:

Category of Tasks

Actual Time Spent by Gibson Dunn

Total Time Spent by Gibson Dunn for Which CrossFit is Requesting Compensation

Filing of the Complaint / Maintenance

77.3 hours

58 hours

Service

61.8 hours

46.35 hours

Seeking Default

99.8 hours

74.85 hours

Total

238.9 hours

179.2 hours

Id. For this work, Plaintiff seeks to recover $92, 262.38 in fees. Dusseault Decl. ΒΆ 8. Plaintiff also seeks to recover $15, 612.14 in fees attributable to Mr. Farell's and the two paralegals efforts to serve Del ...


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