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Martin v. The Eaton Law Group Attorneys, LLC

United States District Court, Middle District of Louisiana

November 4, 2014

ERKESHIA MARTIN
v.
THE EATON LAW GROUP ATTORNEYS, LLC, ET AL

For Erkeshia Martin, Plaintiff: Nicholas Michael Graphia, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Office of Nicholas M. Graphia, LLC, Baton Rouge, LA.

For Eaton Law Group Attorneys, LLC, Defendant: Paul Edward Pendley, LEAD ATTORNEY, Eaton Group Attorneys, Baton Rouge, LA; Gregory M. Eaton, Baton Rouge, LA; Stacey L. Greaud, Eaton Group Attorneys LLC, Baton Rouge, LA.

For Does, 1 through 10, Defendant: Paul Edward Pendley, LEAD ATTORNEY, Eaton Group Attorneys, Baton Rouge, LA.

RULING AND ORDER

BRIAN A. JACKSON, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Before the Court is Plaintiff Erkeshia Martin's Second Petition for Attorneys' Fees and Costs Pursuant to Judgment Entered Against the Eaton Law Group Attorneys, LLC (Doc. 16), seeking an order from this Court awarding attorney's fees in the amount of $3, 265.00. The motion is unopposed. Oral argument is not necessary. Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

I. Background

This is Plaintiff's second motion for attorneys' fees. On March 31, 2014, the Court issued a ruling and order granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff's first motion for attorneys' fees. (Doc. 15.) The Court found that Plaintiff had provided sufficient evidence of the amount of hours expended on preparation of the case. However, Plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence concerning the hourly rates of the attorneys and assistants seeking fees for services. Specifically, the Court found that Plaintiff had not provided evidence of the prevailing rates of attorneys practicing similar law in this District, which is an essential component to the Court's analysis of an award of attorney fees in this circuit. Plaintiff was provided one final opportunity to correct the deficiencies in her motion and was ordered to file the requisite supplemental documentation no later than April 14, 2014.[1] (Doc. 15, at 9.) Plaintiff filed the instant motion on that date. Because the Court previously found that Plaintiff provided sufficient evidence of the reasonable amount of hours spent in preparation of the case, the analysis herein will pertain only to whether the hourly rates are proper.

II. Analysis

Title 15 United States Code § 1692k provides:

(a) Amount of damages
Except as otherwise provided by this section, any debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this subchapter with respect to any person is liable to such person in an amount equal to the sum of--
(3) in the case of any successful action to enforce the foregoing liability, the costs of the action, together with a reasonable attorney's fee as determined by the court.

15 U.S.C. § 1692k. " The calculation of attorney's fees involves a well-established process." Migis v. Pearle Vision, Inc., 135 F.3d 1041, 1047 (5th Cir. 1998). " First, the court calculates a 'lodestar' fee by multiplying the reasonable number of hours expended on the case by the reasonable hourly rates for the participating lawyers. The court then considers whether the lodestar figure should be adjusted upward or downward depending on the circumstances of the case." Id. The factors which justify an upward or downward adjustment of the lodestar fee are:

(1) the time and labor required for the litigation; (2) the novelty and difficulty of the questions presented; (3) the skill required to perform the legal services properly; (4) the preclusion of other employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the case; (5) the customary fee; (6) whether the fee is fixed or contingent; (7) time limitations imposed by the client or the circumstances; (8) the amount involved and the result obtained; (9) the experience, reputation and ability of the attorneys; (10) the " ...

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