United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR
ATTORNEY’S FEES AND POST-JUDGMENT INTEREST
C. Hall United States District Judge
judgment in their favor, plaintiffs Coralys and Francisco
Negron have moved for an award of attorney’s fees in
the amount of $36,792 and an order for post-judgment
interest. See Motion for Attorney’s Fees and
Post-judgment Interest (Doc. No. 93), at 1; Memorandum of Law
in Support of Motion for Attorneys’ Fees and Post
Judgment Interest (“Mot. for Attys’ Fees”)
(Doc. No. 93-1). Defendant Jason Winer (“Winer”)
opposes that Motion. See Memorandum in Opposition
(“Def.’s Opp.â) (Doc. No. 96).
reasons set forth below, the Motion for Attorneys’ Fees
and Post-Judgment Interest is GRANTED in part.
and Francisco Negron (collectively, “the
Negrons”) initiated this action in connection with the
sale of a used car in 2017. See Complaint (Doc. No.
1). To briefly summarize the facts, Coralys Negron purchased
a vehicle from Winer in 2016. See Bench Trial Ruling
and Renewed Motion for Judgment (“Bench Trial
Ruling”) (Doc. No. 86). Although she was led to believe
the cash price for the vehicle was $8,500, the purchase order
and other documentation set that price at $8,995.
Id. at 4 (citing Pl.’s Ex. 2). In addition,
the court found that Coralys’s signatures were forged
in certain places on the Purchase Order, including paragraphs
providing that the vehicle was sold “as is,” with
no implied warranties. Id. at 6 (citing Pl.’s
Ex. 4; Pl.’s Ex. 2). Contrary to Winer’s
representations, there were several problems with the
vehicle, including that the oil feed line was leaking, the
engine was making a knocking noise, the struts were leaking,
and the air conditioner needed to be replaced. Id.
at 7 (citing Pl.’s Ex. 8).
Negrons brought several claims against Winer, including:
violations of the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”);
breach of the implied warranty of merchantability under
section 42a-2-314 of the Connecticut General Statutes and the
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (“Magnuson-Moss”), 15
U.S.C. § 2310(d); breach of express warranty; violations
of Connecticut’s Retail Installment Sales Finance Act
(“RISFA”); civil forgery; and violations of
Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act
(“CUTPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat § 42-110g(d).
Id. at 8. They asserted the same causes of
action-except civil forgery- against Patriot Auto Sales,
which permitted Winer to operate one of its dealerships.
Id. In May 2019, the court awarded a total of
$7,132.89 to plaintiffs, for which Winer and Patriot Auto
Sales are jointly and severally liable, for breach of the
implied warranty of merchantability, violation of RISFA, and
violation of CUTPA. Id. at 36.
now seek attorney’s fees and post-judgment interest
pursuant to CUTPA and Magnuson-Moss. See Mot. for
Attys’ Fees at 2. Winer opposes that Motion, arguing
that he is not liable for fees that are not related to the
CUTPA claim against him. Def.’s Opp. at 3. Winer
further argues that the billable rate for paralegals, as
calculated by the plaintiffs, is unreasonable, id.
at 5, and that the court should exclude the legal fees of
Attorney Mahoney as duplicative, id. at 6.
Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act
related to the CUTPA claim
and Francisco Negron seek attorneys’ fees under
Magnuson-Moss and CUTPA. Pursuant to CUTPA,
In any action brought by a person under this section, the
court may award, to the plaintiff, in addition to the relief
provided in this section, costs and reasonable attorneys'
fees based on the work reasonably performed by an attorney
and not on the amount of recovery.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110g(d). Plaintiffs bear the
burden of “establishing entitlement to an award and
documenting the appropriate hours expended and hourly
rates.” Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424,
437 (1983). The district court should provide a
“concise but clear explanation of its reasons for the
fee award.” Id.
Connecticut courts have explained, attorneys’ fees are
“integral to effecting” the policy behind CUTPA,
“namely, to encourage litigants to act as private
attorneys general and to bring actions for unfair or
deceptive trade practices.” Gill v. Petrazzuoli
Bros., Inc., 10 Conn.App. 22, 33 (1987); see also
Fabri v. United Techs. Int’l, Inc., 193 F.Supp.2d
480, 486 (D. Conn. 2002) (explaining that “the purpose
of the fee-shifting ...