United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MARK S. KOELLE
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.
RULING RE: MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
JP Morgan Chase, N.A. ("defendant") has filed a
motion seeking an award of attorneys' fees. [Doc. #47].
For the reasons set forth herein, the Court
GRANTS defendant's Motion for
Attorneys' Fees and Costs for defendant's Motion to
Compel [Doc. #47].
August 28, 2017, the Court granted, absent objection,
defendant's motion to compel plaintiff to respond to
defendant's interrogatories and requests for production
(Doc. #35). See Doc. #40. On September 1, 2017, the
Court held a conference with counsel to discuss discovery and
scheduling issues. See Doc. #43. At that conference,
"[d]efendant indicated that it may wish to pursue the
costs and fees associated with the filing of defendant's
Motion to Compel. The Court advised defendant to file a
specific request on the docket if it wish[ed] to pursue such
a remedy." Id. at 1. On September 14, 2017,
defendant filed a motion for attorneys' fees and costs
associated with defendant's motion to compel, seeking an
award of $6, 379.20 for 18.8 hours of work performed by two
attorneys in connection with the motion. See Doc.
#47. Plaintiff did not file a response to defendant's
motion for attorneys' fees and costs.
[a motion for an order compelling discovery] is granted ...
the court must ... require the party ... whose conduct
necessitated the motion, the party or attorney advising that
conduct, or both to pay the movant's reasonable expenses
incurred in making the motion, including attorney's
fees." Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A). "But the court
must not order this payment if: (i) the movant filed the
motion before attempting in good faith to obtain the
disclosure or discovery without court action; (ii) the
opposing party's nondisclosure, response, or objection
was substantially justified; or (iii) other circumstances
make an award of expenses unjust." Id.
award of attorneys' fees pursuant to Rule 37 is
calculated "according to the lodestar formula, in which
the number of hours spent by the attorneys is multiplied by
the hourly rate normally charged for similar work by
attorneys of like skill in the area." Bowne of New
York City, Inc. v. AmBase Corp., 161 F.R.D. 258, 266
(S.D.N.Y. 1995) (quotation marks and citations omitted);
see also Congregation Rabbinical Coll. of
Tartikov, Inc. v. Vill. of Pomona, 188 F.Supp.3d
333, 337 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) (determining that the lodestar is
the presumptively reasonable fee in determining the amount of
attorneys' fees and costs warranted in connection with a
motion for sanctions).
most useful starting point for determining the amount of a
reasonable fee is the number of hours reasonably expended on
the litigation multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate."
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). The
resulting amount "is only presumptively reasonable; it
is still within the court's discretion to adjust the
amount upward or downward based on the case-specific
factors." Tyco Healthcare Grp. LP v. Ethicon
Endo-Surgery, Inc., No. 3:10CV60(JBA), 2012 WL 4092515,
at *1 (D. Conn. Sept. 17, 2012) (quotation marks and citation
omitted). "Hence, the process is really a four-step one,
as the court must: (1) determine the reasonable hourly rate;
(2) determine the number of hours reasonably expended; (3)
multiply the two to calculate the presumptively reasonable
fee; and (4) make any appropriate adjustments to arrive at
the final fee award." Adorno v. Port Auth. of New
York & New Jersey, 68 5 F.Supp.2d 507, 511 (S.D.N.Y.
presumptively reasonable fee boils down to what a reasonable,
paying client would be willing to pay, given that such a
party wishes to spend the minimum necessary to litigate the
case effectively." Simmons v. N.Y. City Transit
Auth., 575 F.3d 170, 174 (2d Cir. 2009) (quotation marks
and citation omitted). Factors that the Court may consider in
determining a reasonable fee are:
(1) the time and labor required; (2) the novelty and
difficulty of the questions; (3) the level of skill required
to perform the legal service properly; (4) the preclusion of
employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the case; (5)
the attorney's customary hourly rate; (6) whether the fee
is fixed or contingent; (7) the time limitations imposed by
the client or the circumstances; (8) the amount involved in
the case and the results obtained; (9) the experience,
reputation, and ability of the attorneys; (10) the
"undesirability" of the case; (11) the nature and
length of the professional relationship with the client; and
(12) awards in similar cases.
Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Co., 112 F.Supp.3d
31, 48 (S.D.N.Y. 2015) (citations omitted).
district court retains discretion to determine what
constitutes a reasonable fee." Millea v. Metro-N.
R.R. Co., 658 F.3d 154, 166 (2d Cir. 2011) (quotation
marks and citation omitted). The Court is mindful that
"attorney's fees are to [be] awarded with an eye to
moderation, seeking to avoid either the reality or the
appearance of awarding windfall fees." Tsombanidis
v. City of W. Haven, 208 F.Supp.2d 263, 270 (D. Conn.
2002) (quotation marks and citation omitted), aff'd
sub nom. Tsombanidis v. W. Haven Fire
Dep't, 352 F.3d 565 (2d Cir. 2003); see also New
York State Assoc, for Retarded Children v. Carey, 711
F.2d 1136, 1139 (2d Cir. 1983).