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Juarez v. Villafan

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 22, 2017

OCTAVIANO JUAREZ, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
RAFAEL VILLAFAN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFFS TO FILE SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFING RE MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

         Currently before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion for default judgment against Defendants Rafael Villafan (“Defendant Villafan”) and Demi Ag, Inc. (“Defendant Demi Ag”) (“defaulting defendants”) which was referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

         On November 22, 2017, the Court held a hearing on the motion for default judgment. Estella Cisneros appeared on behalf of Plaintiffs. Defendants did not appear.[1]

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs commenced this action on May 13, 2016. (ECF No. 1.) Defendant Villafan has not answered the complaint. Defendant Demi Ag answered the complaint on June 3, 2016. (ECF No. 4.) However, the answer was filed by the owner of the business, Margarita Ortega, and not a lawyer. On June 7, 2016, the Court issued an order requiring Defendant Demi Ag to retain counsel and have said counsel appear in the matter. (ECF No. 5.) When Defendant Demi Ag did not respond to the June 7, 2016 order, the Court issued an order requiring Defendant Demi Ag to show cause why its answer should not be stricken for its failure to comply with the Court's June 7, 2016 order. (ECF No. 12.) Defendant Demi Ag did not respond to the Court's order to show cause. Therefore, on August 23, 2016, the Court struck Defendant Demi Ag's answer from the record. (ECF No. 14.)

         On September 27, 2016, Plaintiffs filed an amended request to enter default against Defendants Villafan and Demi Ag. (ECF No. 16.) On that same day, the Court entered default against these defendants. (ECF Nos. 17, 18.)

         Plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint on October 6, 2016. (First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) ¶ 29, ECF No. 20-2.)

         On October 6, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion for default judgment against Defendant Villafan and Defendant Demi Ag. (ECF No. 37.) Plaintiffs' first amended complaint also named Rafael Villafan DBA Demi Ag. Inc. as a defendant in addition to Defendant Villafan. At the hearing on the motion for default judgment, Plaintiffs stated that they are not seeking default judgment against Rafael Villafan DBA Demi Ag. Inc.

         II.

         DISCUSSION

         During the hearing on the motion for default judgment, Plaintiffs requested that they be allowed to file supplemental briefing to address some of the Court's questions. The Court finds that supplemental briefing would aid the Court in its analysis of Plaintiff's motion for default judgment, and therefore, the Court directs Plaintiffs to file supplemental briefing addressing the following issues.

         1. Attorneys' Fees and Costs

         Plaintiffs shall address why the Court should award Blanca Banuelos, Estella Cisneros, Anali Cortez, and Cynthia Rice their requested hourly rates for attorneys' fees. While Plaintiffs attach an accounting of the attorneys' fees and costs Plaintiffs have incurred to date in this action that states an hourly rate for each attorney who has worked on the matter, there is no information justifying the hourly rates that are sought.

         An attorney's hourly rate is calculated according to the prevailing market rates in the relevant community and should comport with the rates prevailing in the community for similar services by lawyers of reasonably comparable skill, experience, and reputation. Shirrod v. Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, 809 F.3d 1082, 1086 (9th Cir. 2015). “[T]he burden is on the fee applicant to produce satisfactory evidence - in addition to the attorney's own affidavits - that the requested rates are in line with those prevailing in the ...


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