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.

Brewer v. Leprino Foods Company, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 15, 2019

Brandy Brewer, Plaintiff,
v.
Leprino Foods Company, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER

         Before the Court is Defendant Leprino Foods Company, Inc.'s (“Leprino”) Application for Attorneys' Fees Pursuant to the Court's Order on Motion for Sanctions. (Doc. 114.) Plaintiff Brandy Brewer (“Brewer”) filed her Opposition on May 17, 2019. (Doc. 125.) Accordingly, the motion is now ripe for review.

         After review and consideration, the Court will grant in part Leprino's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arose in 2016 when Brewer, a former employee of Leprino, filed a complaint alleging violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act. (Doc. 1 at 10-22.) During discovery, Leprino discovered that Brewer failed to produce documents that were responsive to its discovery requests. Consequently, Leprino filed an ex parte application, requesting that the Court reopen discovery to allow Leprino to redepose Brewer in regard to late disclosed documents and seeking discovery sanctions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37. (Doc. 25 at 3.)

         On September 6, 2017, the Court held a telephonic hearing regarding Leprino's ex parte application. (Doc. 28.) At the hearing, the Court granted in part Leprino's request to reopen discovery for the limited purpose of redeposing Brewer for an additional five hours. (Id.) The Court, however, deferred ruling on the issue of sanctions. (Id.)

         After the dispositive motions deadline, the Court held a telephonic status conference. (Doc. 38.) Pursuant to discussion at the hearing, the Court allowed the parties to brief the issue of sanctions. (Id. at 2; Doc. 37.)

         On September 28, 2018, Leprino filed a motion for sanctions requesting, inter alia, that the Court order Brewer to pay its fees and costs associated with its ex parte application and Brewer's redeposition. (Doc. 41 at 3.) In a January 29, 2019 Order (“Sanctions Order”), the Court granted in part and denied in part Leprino's motion, ordering Brewer to pay Leprino's fees and costs incurred in making its ex parte application and in redeposing Brewer in an amount to be determined at the conclusion of trial. (Doc. 74 at 20.) The Court also reserved the right to provide an adverse inference jury instruction at trial. (Id.) Trial was held in this matter on April 1, 2019 through April 10, 2019. (Docs. 96-101, 104-06.) As the evidence unfolded at trial, the circumstances that could have led to a request for an adverse inference jury instruction never materialized. Accordingly, in an April 15, 2019 Order, the Court denied as moot “any motions related to the issue of an adverse inference jury instruction.” (Doc. 113 at 1.)

         An off-the-record hearing was held on April 24, 2019 to clarify the Court's Sanctions Order. (Doc. 115.) During the hearing, “[t]he Court directed counsel to file a separately noticed motion for fees and costs pursuant to the Court's Order (Doc. 74)” should counsel wish to file a motion for attorneys' fees. (Id.) Later that day, Leprino filed the instant motion for attorneys' fees. (Doc. 114.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         Leprino requests $16, 480.00 in attorneys' fees pursuant to the Court's Sanctions Order. (Doc. 114 at 2, 4.) Specifically, Leprino states it is entitled to the $10, 480.00 incurred in making its ex parte application and the $6, 000.00 incurred in redeposing Brewer. (Id. at 4.)

         Brewer contends, however, that Leprino is not entitled to attorneys' fees because the Court denied further motions related to the issue of sanctions. (Doc. 125 at 2.) In support, Brewer provides an excerpt of the Court's trial dialogue in which the Court stated: “[T]here will be no other sanctions imposed as a result of some discovery issues.” (Id.) Brewer also attaches a copy of the Court's April 15, 2019 Order, arguing that the Court “issued an order stating that It [sic] was Denying [sic] any motions associated with Docket Numbers: 41 and 74, which were the motions for sanctions.” (Id.)

         Contrary to Brewer's contentions, the Court did not deny all motions related to the issue of sanctions. At trial, the Court noted that it would not impose sanctions related to some, not all, discovery issues. Then, the Court issued its April 15, 2019 Order, denying as moot the issue of an adverse inference jury instruction, not the payment of attorneys' fees. Thus, Leprino is entitled to its reasonable attorneys' fees pursuant to the Court's Sanctions Order.

         When attorneys' fees are awarded, a court must analyze the award to ensure its reasonableness. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433-34 (1983). In assessing the reasonableness of an award of attorneys' fees, court's employ the lodestar method. Staton v. Boeing Co., 327 F.3d 938, 965 (9th Cir. 2003). The lodestar figure is calculated by multiplying the number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable hourly rate. Gonzalez v. City of Maywood, 729 F.3d 1196, 1202 (9th Cir. 2013). The moving party has the burden to prove reasonableness. Intel Corp. v. Terabyte Int'l, Inc., 6 F.3d 614, 622-23 (9th Cir. 1993).

         A reasonable number of hours expended equals “[t]he number of hours … [which] could reasonably have been billed to a private client.” Moreno v. City of Sacramento, 534 F.3d 1106, 1111 (9th Cir. 2008). The moving party “has the burden of submitting billing records to establish that the number of hours it has requested are reasonable.” Gonzalez, 729 F.3d at 1202 (citing In re Wash. Pub. Power Supply Sys. Sec. Litig., 19 F.3d 1291, 1305 ...


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.