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Bidwal v. Unifund CCR Partners

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

August 27, 2019

JAGDEEP S. BIDWAL Plaintiff.
v.
UNIFUND CCR PARTNERS; UNIFUND PORTFOLIO A, LLC; MATTHEW W. QUALL; LANG, RICHERT & PATCH, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION; ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT PROCESSING, INC.; JULIO ASCORRA. Defendants. Task Trueblood Hours Stempler Hours Block Hours Attorney Hours Rate Amount Date Stempler Trueblood Block Date Stempler Trueblood Block Date Attorney Task Attorney Rate Sought Rate Awarded Hours Sought Hours Awarded Total

          ORDER (1) GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AND (2) DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE RE: ECF NO. 112

          LAUREL BEELER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         The plaintiff defaulted on a credit-card debt to Citibank and sued the defendants - who assumed the debt - based on their allegedly illegal attempts to collect the debt (allegedly by fraudulent service and an invalid default judgment and writ of execution), in violation of the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and California's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.[1] By September 2018, the parties settled the case for $24, 500, stipulated that the plaintiff was the prevailing party, and agreed that the court would decide a fees motion.[2]The plaintiff asked for fees of $381, 615 (for 288.6 hours worked by three attorneys for a total of $190, 807.50 plus a 2.0 multiplier) and costs of $2, 267.48.[3] The defendants challenge the fees as unreasonable but do not challenge costs.[4] The court awards $95, 275 in reasonable fees and $2, 267.48 in costs.

         STATEMENT

         1. Facts Underlying the Complaint

         The defendants are as follows. Unifund is a debt-collection agency, its collection lawyers are Quall Cardot and Lang Richert & Patch, and the lawyers' process servers are EDP, Williams, and Ascorra.[5]

         The plaintiff defaulted on his credit-card debt to Citibank, which wrote off the balance of $3, 665.01 in September 2008 and sold the debt to Unifund in 2010.[6] The plaintiff's address on the account was 4631 Kester Avenue, Apartment 103, Sherman Oaks, California.[7] The plaintiff alleges that he moved from the Kester address to the Bay Area at around the time of default, but he never gave Citibank notice that he moved, which meant that the Kester address remained his account address.[8] On July 6, 2010, Unifund sent a collection letter to the plaintiff at his new address in Union City.[9]

         Unifund referred the case to its attorneys, Lang Richert & Patch, for collection. On September 7, 2010, the firm sent a collection letter to the Kester address.[10] It was not returned undeliverable.[11]

         In November 2010, Unifund sued the plaintiff in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Mr. Quall was counsel of record.[12] On December 6, 2010, Lang Richert's process server EDP tried unsuccessfully to serve the plaintiff at the Kester address.[13] EDP's “Declaration re Diligence” states that service was unsuccessful because “subject not at this address” and “there are new tenants living at the given apt number.”[14]

         The defendants engaged in the following efforts to confirm the plaintiff's address.

         In December 2010, Lang Richert submitted a request to the Sherman Oaks Postmaster to determine whether the plaintiff submitted a change-of-address form, and the Postmaster responded that there was no change-of-address order on file.[15] EDP thereafter made three attempts to serve the plaintiff at the Kester address and then, on June 12, 2011, served the plaintiff by substitute service at the Kester address by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint with the occupant and mailed a copy to the address.[16]

         On October 13, 2011, the state clerk of court entered default judgment against the plaintiff and in favor of Unifund in the amount of $3, 665.01, $1, 116.57 in accrued interest, and $303.00 in costs for a total of $5, 084.58.[17]

         In May 2012, the collection lawyers' skip tracing showed that the plaintiff lived in San Ramon.[18] The state-court files show that the defendants continued serving the plaintiff at the Kester address, including an October 2012 memorandum of costs, a March 18, 2013 bank levy, and a January 2015 change of address.[19]

         On October 19, 2016, the collection lawyer levied the plaintiff's bank accounts in Northern California in the amount of $4, 594.41.[20] The plaintiff called Quall Cardot, said that he had not been served, and provided proof of his address in 2010 including his Homeland Security documents and his marriage certificate.[21]

         In February 2017, Unifund stipulated to set aside the default judgment.[22]

         2. Relevant Procedural and Settlement History

         The plaintiff filed his initial complaint in May 2017.[23] According to Plaintiff's counsel, they offered early to settle for $17, 000 cash plus $7, 500 in value for dismissal of the state case. (Ultimately, 18 months into the case, the federal case settled for $24, 500 plus attorney's fees and costs.[24]) The timeline after the filing of the complaint is as follows:

June 5, 2017: Plaintiff offers $36, 322.33 to settle case (inclusive of $12, 233 in fees).[25]
June-August 2017: Rule 26(f) conference and report, discuss ADR options[26]August 2017: First Amended Complaint[27]
September 2017: Answer from Lang, Richert, & Patch; Quall/Unifund serve initial disclosures; Draft Motion to Strike shared with defendants[28]
October 2017: Amended Answer from EDP et al[29]
December 2017: EDP offers to settle for $5, 000 (inclusive of fees/costs)[30]
January 2018: Plaintiff counters with $17, 000 plus fees and costs[31]
January 2018 Unifund/Quall demand dismissal of case[32]
February 2018: Initial case-management conference[33]
March-April 2018 Unifund/Quall ask to excuse client reps from attending mediation; court orders attendance[34]
April 2018 EDP initial disclosures[35]
April 23, 2018 Unifund/Quall asks for updated demand; plaintiff offers $18, 000 for Unifund/Quall or $24, 000 global, plus fees/costs[36]
May 2018 Settlement talks with Unifund in-house counsel[37]
June 14, 2018 Mediation; process servers are no shows; defendants serve plaintiff with state court complaint[38]
June 26, 2018 Plaintiff offers $20, 000 plus dismissal of state case plus fees/costs[39]
July 2018 Settlement offers from defendants of $10, 000 and later $12, 000 plus fees/costs (but no dismissal of state case); plaintiff counters with $20, 000 plus dismissal plus fees/costs[40]
July 2018 Plaintiff responds to “extensive” discovery[41]
August 2018 Parties dispute whether federal case should be stayed; plaintiff files second amended complaint; plaintiff settles with defendant Williams (the process server) for $1, 000[42]
September 14, 2018: Case settles for remaining defendants for $24, 500 ($16, 000 in cash from Unifund/Quall, $1, 000 from Williams, dismissal of the state case (a $7, 500 value) with the court to determine fees and costs[43]
Fall 2018: Finalize Written Settlement Agreement[44]
December 28, 2018 Stipulated Dismissal[45]

         At the initial case-management conference in February 2018, the court limited discovery to documents to keep costs low.[46] After the court referred the case for a settlement conference, the parties disputed whether the stay remained in place, and the court ordered them to file a discovery plan, reminding them that they should keep costs low.[47] On July 30, 2018, the parties reported the following: (1) the plaintiff wanted to stay the federal case and favored staying discovery; (2) the plaintiff and the defendants propounded interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for production of documents; and (3) the defendants noticed depositions of plaintiff's wife, mother, and father, all in Southern California (despite their living in the Bay Area).[48] On August 2, 2018, the court ordered the parties to file a briefing schedule for the motion to stay within seven days.[49]The plaintiff decided not to file the motion.[50] At Unifund's request, on August 16, 2018 at a case-management conference, the court ordered the plaintiff to respond to the defendants' 18 requests for admission and 20 interrogatories and gave the parties 21 days to file a deposition schedule and a joint letter addressing any discovery disputes.[51] On September 13, 2018, the parties filed a deposition schedule, and on September 19, 2018, the plaintiff filed a notice of settlement.[52]

         3. Charts Showing (1) Attorney Time Billed by Task and (2) Total Fee Request[53]

Task
Trueblood Hours
Stempler Hours
Block Hours

Complaint

1.6[54]

7.8[55]

n/a

First Amended Complaint

0.P[56]

1.2[57]

n/a

Second Amended Complaint; Motion for Leave

4.9[58]; 5.0[59]

l.3[60]

1.0[61]; 0.3[62]

Motion to Strike

1.2[63]

5.6[64]

n/a

Mediation - Preparation; Travel/Attend

19.3 (9.3[65];10.0[66]

15.8(4.3[67]; 11.5[68]

n/a

Settlement Agreement

4.2[69]

1.5 [70]

0.2[71]

Fees Motion & Reply

31.3[72]

3.0[73]

0.5 [74]

Discovery & Discovery Related

37.9[75]

42.0[76]

0.8[77]

Miscellaneous[78]

38.8

58.3

5.0

Attorney
Hours
Rate
Amount

Trueblood

144.3

$725

$104, 617.50

Stempler

136.5

$600

$ 81, 900.00

Block

7.8

$550

$ 4, 290.00

Total

288.6

$ 190, 807.50

Plus 2.0 Multiplier

$381, 615.00

Expenses

$ 2, 267.48

         4. Parties' Declarations Regarding Fees

         4.1 John D. O'Connor - Plaintiff

         Mr. O'Connor is an attorney with forty-seven years of legal experience and has been an attorney's-fee expert approximately 150 times.[79] He worked at several private firms in the Bay Area and the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco before opening his own firm, which specializes in business and tort litigation and expert work on attorney's-fee analysis.[80] Mr. O'Connor has been involved in legal fee-review cases since 1977 and developed his expertise in the area via work involving legal auditing and consulting.[81] He is a member and lecturer at the National Association of Legal Fee Analysis, which is an organization dedicated to continuing education and the development of legal-fee-billing standards.[82]

         When he worked as a special counsel and director from 2001 to 2006 at the law firm Howard Rice, Mr. O'Connor kept informed about the rates of both AmLaw 500 firms and smaller business firms in order to set the annual rates of the firm.[83] The firm did work throughout California, their surveys included rates from the northern and southern parts of the state, and in his experience, “the rate structure of the San Francisco Bay Area is virtually identical to that in the greater Los Angeles area.”[84] He opines on fees in this case based on his litigation, firm, and fee-expert experience.[85]

         Mr. O'Connor opines that Mr. Trueblood's rate of $725 an hour is reasonable based on the middle range of rates of AmLaw 500 firms practicing in San Francisco and Los Angeles as these rates are like those charged by reputable small and mid-sized firms.[86] To support his opinion that Mr. Trueblood's $725 hourly rate is reasonable, he notes that Los Angeles courts awarded Mr. Trueblood an hourly rate of $495 in 2009 and an arbitrator awarded him $675 per hour in 2017.[87]As to Mr. Stempler, Mr. O'Connor notes his experience, cites to decisions from court in Southern California, and states that eight to eleven years of fee increases since those cases equate to the requested rate of $600 per hour.[88] In 2017, a court awarded Mr. Block $475 per hour and opines that an increase to $550 is reasonable given the legal market.[89] Mr. O'Connor opines that the attorneys' hours are reasonable.[90]

         In response to the defendants' motion to strike his opinion, Mr. O'Connor explains why two courts in the Northern District rejected parts of his opinions about reasonable hourly rates.[91] Both cases were unusual fee petitions in hotly contested litigation[92] and do not affect the analysis here.

         4.2 Alexander Trueblood - Plaintiff

         Mr. Trueblood is the plaintiff's counsel, is a consumer-law and class-action specialist, and has 28 years of legal experience.[93] He worked at several reputable firms before opening his own firm in 1999.[94] Top partners at major firms billed at rates averaging $900 per hour in 2012 while average rates for partners in surveyed firms within major markets averaged rates of $700 per hour in the same year.[95] Courts have approved his hourly rates of $650 to $700 in southern California in the following cases: Vitrano v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., Case No. 2:13-cv-02492-AB-MRW (C.D. Cal. Feb. 2, 2015) ($700 in a class-action settlement of a consumer-credit case involving violations of the UCL and the Rees-Levering Automobile Sales Finance Act); Jimenez v. Alaska USA Fed. Credit Union, Case No. BC516470 (Cal. Super. Ct. 2015) ($700 in a case involving violations of the Rees-Levering Automobile Sales Finance Act); Wickremaratne v. Gateway One Lending & Finance, Case No. BC493061 (Cal. Super. Ct. 2015) ($700 in a class-action settlement involving violations of the Rees-Levering Automobile Sales Finance Act); Wimberly v. Triad Financial Corp., Case No. 30-2008-00059511 (Cal. Super. Ct. 2013) ($700 in a class action settlement); Walker v. Westlake Financial, Case No. BC436725 (Cal. Super. Ct. 2012) ($675 in a class-action settlement involving violations of the Rees-Levering Automobile Sales Finance Act); Bruno v. Capital One, Case No. BC 397149 (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011) ($650 in a class-action settlement); Tan v. Wheels Financial Group, Inc., Alternative Resolution Centers, ARC Case No. 78M4930 ($675 in 2017 in an individual consumer-credit reporting ADR case).[96] He also cites a Northern District case: Baker v. GEMB Lending, Inc., Case No. 10-cv-05261-SBA (N.D. Cal. Dec. 20, 2012) ($675 in an uncontested fees order in a class-action settlement of a case involving violations of the Rees-Levering Automobile Sales Finance Act and the UCL).

         He turned down other work as a result of this case.[97]

         In a supplemental declaration, Mr. Trueblood said that he worked 30 hours on the reply brief, Mr. Stempler worked on it too, and he asks for 15 hours.[98]

         4.3 Robert Stempler - Plaintiff

         Mr. Stempler also is the plaintiff's counsel and is a consumer-rights specialist with over twenty years of experience.[99] He cites cases in southern California where courts awarded him between $240 and $350 per hour in 2006 to 2008: Amrbiz v. Arrow Fin. Services, LLC, 2008 WL 2095617, Case No. 07-cv-5423-JFW (C.D. Cal. May 15, 2008) ($350 in an individual FDCPA case); Miller v. Midland Funding, LLC, Case No. 07-cv-04869-ODW (C.D. Cal. April 29, 2008) ($350 in an individual FDCPA case); and Harlow v. Midland Credit Management, Inc., 2007 WL 3165669, Case No. 07-cv-5045-ABC (C.D. Cal. Sept. 5, 2007) ($300 in a case where the plaintiff filed a removal motion with no “objectively reasonable basis” and attorney's fees were awarded as a result).[100]

         He turned down other cases to work on this one.[101]

         4.4 Brandon Block - Plaintiff

         Mr. Block also is the plaintiff's counsel, has nearly twenty years of experience, and has specialized in consumer-protection litigation since 2007.[102] Based on personal inquiries, his rate of $550 per hour is below the billing rates of his contemporaries at other law firms engaged in similar litigation, and he lists cases where southern California courts awarded him hourly rates from $375 to $525 in 2007 to 2016: Miranda v. Simple Cash Loans, Inc., Case No. BC580634 (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2016) ($525 in class-action settlement in case involving violations of California's finance-lenders law); Vitrano v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., Case No. 2:13-cv-02492-AB-MRW (C.D. Cal. Feb. 2, 2015) ($465-$490 in a class-action settlement of a consumer-credit case involving violations of the UCL and the Rees-Levering Automobile Sales Finance Act); Travis v. Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc., Case No. 34-2012-00131362 (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2012) ($425-$465 awarded in debt-collection-harassment case).[103]

         He turned down work on other cases by taking this one.[104]

         4.5 Tomio Narita - Defendant

         Mr. Narita is the defendant's counsel, has twenty-seven years of experience, and spent the last twenty-three years almost exclusively defending creditors, collection agencies, and law firms in class and individual actions.[105] He charged the defendants $435 to $450 per hour, which he believes is a reasonable rate for someone with his expertise in FDCPA cases, and his clients would not pay the plaintiff's rates.[106] He attached charts attacking the plaintiff's counsel's billings.[107]

         4.6 Steven Nimoy - Defendant

         Mr. Nimoy is the defendants' counsel, has practiced law for twenty-four years, and frequently defends FDCPA cases.[108] He bills his clients $250 per hour for FDCPA cases, and they would not pay more than $250 to $300 per hour, and he believes $300 is reasonable.[109]

         4.7 June Coleman - Defendant

         Ms. Coleman is an attorney at Carlson & Messer, has twenty-one years of experience, practices extensively in FDCPA actions in the Northern District, and provides evidence of the market rate in the district.[110] Her knowledge of the rates in the district is based on her own billing rates, discussions with client and others regarding rates paid to attorneys for similar work, and discussions with other attorneys about what they are paid.[111] She bills her private clients no more than $300 per hour in cases like this, and her clients likely would not pay more than $250 to $300 per hour.[112] In a 2008 Northern District case, a court awarded $375 per hour, but that was a more complex case than this case.[113]

         4.8 Stephen Turner - Defendant

         Mr. Turner is a law-firm partner at Lewis Brisbois and chairs his firm's Consumer Litigation Defense & Financial Services practice group.[114] He has thirty-nine years of experience and provided information about the market rate in the Northern District.[115] He bills his clients $425 per hour, his clients likely would not pay more than $375 for the services provided here, and he supports an hourly rate here of $425.[116]

         4.9 Mark Ellis - Defendant

         Mr. Ellis is an attorney at Ellis Law Group, has thirty-two years of experience, and regularly defends financial institutions in FDCPA cases.[117] He bills his clients no more than $275 per hour in FDCPA matters, which is a reasonable rate for attorneys with his experience in the Northern District.[118] His clients likely would pay no more than $275 to $300 per hour, but he believes $400 to $500 per hour would be reasonable in this case.[119]

         4.10 Fred Schwinn - Plaintiff (on Reply)

         Mr. Schwinn is an attorney at Consumer Law Center, Inc., has twenty-two years of legal experience, and provides information about the market rate in the Northern District.[120] His name is in the survey of fees attached to the defendants' opposition. His current rate is $650 per hour, and courts in Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County, San Francisco County, and San Mateo County have awarded him $600 per hour in 2018 and 2019.[121]

         4.11 Ronald Wilcox - Plaintiff (on Reply)

         Mr. Wilcox is a consumer-protection attorney at Wilcox Law Firm, P.C., has been practicing since 1995, and is mentioned in the defendants' fees survey, and a court in the Northern District has awarded him an hourly rate of $400.[122] See Garcia v. Resurgent Capital Servs, L.P., No. C-11-1253 EMC, 2012 WL 3778852 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 30, 2012) (Rosenthal/FDCPA case).

         ANALYSIS

         The plaintiff asks for $190, 807.50 based on 288.6 hours billed and asks for a 2.0 multiplier, resulting in a total fee request of $381, 615. The defendants challenge the billing rates, the hours billed, and the 2.0 multiplier.[123] The court reduces the hourly rates, reduces the hours, does not apply a multiplier, and awards $95, 275 in fees and $2, 267.48 in costs.

         A debt collector who violates the FDCPA and the Rosenthal Act is liable for costs and reasonable attorney's fees. 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3); Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.17 & 1788.30(c). Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the plaintiff is the prevailing party, and the defendants will pay reasonable attorney's fees and costs.[124]

         The fees analysis for the federal and state statutes begins with the lodestar. The “lodestar” is calculated by multiplying the number of hours the prevailing party reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable hourly rate. City of Burlington v. Dague, 505 U.S. 557, 559 (1992). California also utilizes the lodestar method in determining a fee award. Chavez v. City of Los Angeles, 47 Cal.4th 970, 985 (2010); see also Cavalry SPV I, LLC v. Watkins, 36 Cal.App. 5th 1070, 1100-01 (2019) (applying the lodestar to a Rosenthal Act case).[125]

         1. Hourly Rates

         The plaintiff asks for the following hourly rates: $725 for Mr. Trueblood, $600 for Mr. Stempler, and $550 for Mr. Block. The defendants counter that the rates “should be awarded in the range of $350 per hour” and that -- while Mr. Block should not receive any compensation at all -- any award would be at “an hourly rate commensurate with other junior attorneys practicing in the Northern District.”[126] The court awards $475 for Mr. Trueblood, $375 for Mr. Stempler, and $325 for Mr. Block.

         The district court determines a reasonable hourly rate based on the “experience, skill, and reputation of the attorney requesting fees.” Chalmers v. City of Los Angeles, 796 F.2d 1205, 1210 (9th Cir. 1986). This task is “inherently difficult.” Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895 n.11 (1984). To assist with the determination the court looks to “the rate prevailing in the community for similar work performed by attorneys of comparable skill, experience, and reputation.” Chalmers, 796 F.3d at 1210-11. This community is typically that in which the district court sits. Schwarz v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 73 F.3d 895, 906 (9th Cir. 1995). The burden is on the fee applicant to show his or her fee is in line with prevailing market rates. Blum, 465 U.S. at 895 n.11. “Affidavits of the plaintiffs' attorney and other attorneys regarding prevailing fees in the community, and rate determinations in other cases, particularly those setting a rate for the plaintiffs' attorney, are satisfactory evidence of the prevailing market rate.” United Steelworkers of Am. v. Phelps Dodge Corp., 896 F.2d 403, 407 (9th Cir. 1990); see also Widrig v. Apfel, 140 F.3d 1207, 1209-10 (9th Cir. 1998) (declarations by attorneys regarding the prevailing market rate in the community may be enough to establish a reasonable rate in the market). In some cases, the court may look outside of the forum community for rates if local counsel is unavailable “either because they are unwilling or unable to perform because they lack the degree of experience, expertise, or specialization required to handle properly the case.” Gates v. Deukmejian, 987 F.2d 1392, 1405 (9th Cir. 1992) (adopting the reasoning of other circuit courts for considering out of district rates).

         In awarding fees, the court considers fee awards in similar cases involving similar work by comparable attorneys in the Northern District of California.

         The defendants cite FDCPA cases in the Northern District where courts have awarded hourly rates ranging from $250 to $600.[127] See Forto v. Capital One Bank, N.A., No. 14-cv-05611-JD (MEJ), 2017 WL 4168529 (N.D. Cal Sept. 20, 2017) (hourly rate of $250 and $200 respectively to defense partner with 12 years' experience and an experienced associate in a simple FDCPA/Rosenthal case involving a debt of approximately $3, 000 where the plaintiff acted in bad faith and sought to harass the defendant; required the defendants to submit billing records); Jacobson v. Persolve, LLC, No. 14-cv-00735-LHK, 2016 WL 7230873 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 14, 2016) (hourly rates of $500 for attorney with 19 years' experience and $600 for an attorney with 40 years' experience in putative FDCPA and Rosenthal class action); Ng v. U.S. Bank, N.A., No. 15-cv-04998-KAW, 2016 WL 7157760 (N.D. Cal Dec. 8, 2016) ($300 hourly rate to attorney with 20 years' experience in a case alleging wrongful foreclosure, fraudulent concealment, and violations of the FDCPA, Truth in Lending Act, and UCL); Alvarado v. Hovg, LLC, No. 14-cv-02549-HSG, 2016 WL 5462429 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 29, 2016) (hourly rates of $450 and $400 in putative class action where the plaintiff settled for $43, 000 for alleged TCPA and FDCPA violations); Jiang v. New Millennium Concepts, Inc., No. 15-cv-04722-JST, 2016 WL 3682474 (N.D. Cal. July 11, 2016) (hourly rate of $500 to experienced plaintiff's attorney where the court entered a default judgment of $10, 462.90 against the defendant for non-complex FDCPA and Rosenthal violations); Price-Pauline v. Performant Recovery, Inc., No. 14-cv-00850-JD, 2016 WL 310268 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 26, 2016) (hourly rate of $600 to attorney with 28 years' experience, $500 to attorney with 20 years' experience, and $375 to attorney with six years' experience in case alleging violations of the FDCPA, Rosenthal Act, and California UCL where the plaintiff recovered $12, 500); Martell v. Baker, No. 14-cv-04723-BLF, 2015 WL 3920056 (N.D. Cal. June 25, 2015) (hourly rate of $500 to attorney with 18 years' experience in a non-complex FDCPA/Rosenthal case); Garcia v. Resurgent Capital Services, L.P., 2012 WL 3778852 (hourly rate of $400 to an attorney with 18 years' experience in an individual FDCPA case that settled on the eve of trial); see also Garcia v. Stanley, No. 14-cv-01806-BLF, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32550 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 7, 2017) (hourly rates of $500 and $400 for co-counsel who had 19 and nine years' experience respectively in a non-complex FDCPA/Rosenthal case).[128]

         The court's research revealed the following additional cases: Reenders v. Premier Recovery Grp., No. 18-cv-07761-PJH (JSC), 2019 WL 2583595 (N.D. Cal. May 7, 2019) (hourly rate of $225 to attorney with two years' experience in a simple FDCPA case); Schuchardt v. Law Office of Rory W. Clark, No. 15-cv-01329-JSC, 314 F.R.D. 673, 689 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 28, 2016) (hourly rate of $350 for a senior associate and $400 for other experienced attorneys in a FDCPA class action settlement); Evans v. Creditor's Specialty Service, Inc., No. 15-cv-03355-BLF, 2016 WL 730277 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 24, 2016) (hourly rate of $320 for attorney with almost 8 years' experience in a simple FDCPA case); De Amaral v. Goldsmith & Hull, No. 12-cv-03580-WHO, 2014 WL 1309954 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 1, 2014) (hourly rates of $450 and $350 to experienced FDCPA attorneys in non-complex case where attorneys showed similar past awards in the district).

         Applying these cases to this straightforward debt-collection case, the court sets Mr. Trueblood's reasonable hourly rate at $475 ...


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