United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
LUV N' CARE, LTD.
GROUPO RIMAR, AKA SUAVINEX
L. HAYES MAG. JUDGE
G. JAMES \/ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a Motion for Attorneys39; Fees for
Appeal (“Motion for Attorneys39; Fees for
Appeal”) filed by Defendant Groupo Rimar a/k/a Suavinex
(“Suavinex”). [Doc. No. 36]. Suavinex moves the
Court for an award of attorneys39; fees against Plaintiff
Luv N Care, Ltd. (“LNC”) for the time spent
litigating the appeal.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
case arises from the Parties39; dispute over provisions of
a 2012 Termination Agreement and Mutual Release (“2012
Termination Agreement”) in this Court. On August 14,
2014, LNC filed suit against Suavinex for the alleged
violations of certain provisions of the 2012 Termination
Agreement. (“Suavinex I”). Weeks after
the amendment deadline had passed, on May 15, 2015, LNC
attempted to amend the Complaint to add the instant claim.
[Case. No. 14-2491, (“Suavinex I”) Doc.
No. 35]. On June 17, 2015, Magistrate Judge Karen L. Hayes
denied the motion on grounds of untimeliness and futility.
(Suavinex I, [Doc. No. 54]). LNC did not appeal
Magistrate Judge Hayes39; Order to this Court.
September 9, 2015, LNC filed the instant Complaint.
(“Suavinex II”). On January 11, 2016,
Suavinex filed a “Motion to Dismiss, or in the
Alternative Rule 12(c) Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings” in Suavinex II. [Doc. No. 4]. On
February 26, 2016, Magistrate Judge Hayes issued a Report and
Recommendation [Doc. No. 15] in which she recommended
dismissing LNC39;s claims in Suavinex II on three
separate grounds: (1) res judicata; (2) insufficient
service of process; and (3) no breach of contract as a matter
of law. On May 13, 2016, the Court issued a Judgment adopting
the findings and conclusions set forth in Magistrate Judge
Hayes39; Report and Recommendation to the extent she
recommended that the Court dismiss LNC39;s claims on
res judicata grounds. [Doc. No. 24].
16, 2016, LNC filed a notice of appeal of the Judgment to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. [Doc.
No. 26]. On September 13, 2016, the Fifth Circuit dismissed
the appeal pursuant to a motion filed by LNC. [Doc. No. 35].
September 23, 2016, Suavinex filed the instant Motion for
Attorneys39; Fees for Appeal under paragraph 5.9 of the
2012 Termination Agreement. [Doc. No. 36]. On September 29,
2016, LNC filed a memorandum in opposition. [Doc. No. 38]. On
October 5, 2016, Suavinex filed a reply memorandum [Doc. No.
39] and LNC filed a sur-reply on October 11, 2016. [Doc. No.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
well settled in Louisiana law that a prevailing litigant may
not recover his attorneys39; fees unless provided for by
statute or contract. General Motors Acceptance Corp. v.
Meyers, 85 So.2d 245');">385 So.2d 245, 247 (La. 1980) (citing
Hernandez v. Harson, 89');">237 La. 389, 111 So.2d 320
(1959)). Suavinex seeks “reasonable attorney39;s
fees” in the amount of $14, 080.00 as the
“prevailing party” under the 2012 Termination
Agreement. [Doc. No. 36-1]. The 2012 Termination Agreement
The prevailing party in a claim in a court of competent
jurisdiction arising under this agreement against another
Party shall be entitled to collect reasonable attorney39;s
fees incurred in connection with the claim or suit in the
underlying matter. For purposes of this Section, a Party
shall be considered the prevailing party if the court of
competent jurisdiction has reached a decision which is
substantially closer to one Party39;s original claims or
defenses, taken as a whole, than the opposing Party; provided
that if the decision is not clearly substantially closer to
one party39;s original claims or defenses, taken as a
whole, than the opposing Party, none of the Parties shall be
entitled to collect attorney39;s fees.
(Suavinex I, [Doc. No. 64-8, p. 6]).
Fifth Circuit dismissed the appeal with prejudice pursuant to
LNC39;s motion. [Doc. No. 35]. The Court concludes that
Suavinex is the prevailing party because the Court39;s
Judgment in the underlying matter is substantially closer to
Suavinex39;s claims and defenses. Therefore, Suavinex is
entitled to collect reasonable attorneys39; fees incurred
in connection with LNC39;s appeal.
express language of the 2012 Termination Agreement dictates
that Louisiana law governs the Court's award of
attorneys' fees in this case. Under Louisiana law, a
“reasonable attorney's fee is determined by the
facts of an individual case. In making awards for
attorney's fees, the trial court is vested with great
discretion . . . .” Richardson v. Parish of
Jefferson, 98-625 (La.App. 5 Cir. 1999); 727 So.2d 705,
707 (citations omitted). “The fundamental measure of
attorney's fees is reasonableness, considering the