United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
WELLS ROBY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Liberty Mutual Insurance Company's
Motion for Attorneys' Fees (R. Doc. 359) filed
by Intervenor Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
(“Liberty Mutual”), seeking an order from the
Court to award it the attorneys' fees incurred by it in
the filing and prosecution of its Motion for Contempt. R.
Doc. 303. The motion is unopposed. In total, Liberty Mutual
seeks $1, 575.50 in attorneys' fees.
facts of this case are well known to the Court given the
extensive pretrial motion practice in this case. See,
e.g., R. Doc. 107. On August 10, 2017, the Court granted
Liberty Mutual's Motion for Contempt, finding that it was
entitled to attorneys' fees under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 37(a)(5)(A). R. Doc. 337. As a part of that Order,
the Court ordered that Liberty Mutual file a motion to fix
attorneys' fees and costs. Id. Liberty Mutual,
thereafter, filed the subject motion on August 15, 2017,
requesting $1, 575.50 in attorneys' fees. R. Doc. 359, p.
2. Liberty Mutual's motion is unopposed.
Standard of Review
Supreme Court has specified that the “lodestar”
calculation is the “most useful starting point”
for determining the award for attorney's fees.
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983).
Lodestar is computed by “. . . the number of hours
reasonably expended on the litigation multiplied by a
reasonable hourly rate.” Id. The lodestar
calculation, “. . . provides an objective basis on
which to make an initial estimate of the value of a
lawyer's services.” Id. Once the lodestar
has been determined, the district court must consider the
weight and applicability of the twelve factors delineated in
Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d
714, 717-19 (5th Cir. 1974). See Watkins v. Fordice,
7 F.3d 453, 457 (5th Cir. 1993). Subsequently, if
the Johnson factors warrant an adjustment, the court
may make modifications upward or downward to the lodestar.
Id. However, the lodestar is presumed to be a
reasonable calculation and should be modified only in
exceptional circumstances. Id. (citing City of
Burlington v. Dague, 505 U.S. 557, 562 (1992)).
party seeking attorneys' fees bears the burden of
establishing the reasonableness of the fees by submitting
“adequate documentation of the hours reasonably
expended, ” and demonstrating the use of billing
judgement. Creecy v. Metro. Prop. & Cas. Ins.
Co., 548 F.Supp.2d 279, 286 (E.D. La. 2008) (citing
Wegner v. Standard Ins. Co., 129 F.3d 814, 822
Reasonable Hourly Rate
Liberty Mutual has submitted the affidavit of Craig N.
Mangum. R. Doc. 359-2. Liberty Mutual has requested an hourly
rate of $225 for work conducted by David J. Krebs
(“Krebs”), $225 for work conducted by Craig N.
Mangum (“Mangum”), and $185 for work conducted by
Cassandra R. Hewlings (“Hewlings”). R. Doc.
359-2, p. 3.
attached to Mangum's affidavit are on-line biographies of
each attorney. Krebs' biography lays out that he is
managing partner of Krebs Farley and has been practicing law
for thirty-five (35) years. R. Doc. 359-3. Furthermore,
Krebs' biography notes that he is ranked by Chambers
among the “top construction attorneys in the region . .
. [and] represents some of the country's largest
corporations in major litigation matters.” Id.
Mangum is a partner with Krebs Farley and has nine (9) years
of legal experience, and Hewlings is an associate with Krebs
Farley and has four (4) years of legal experience. R. Doc.
359-4, p. 1; 359-5.
“appropriate hourly rate . . . is the market rate in
the community for this work.” Black v. SettlePou,
P.C., 732 F.3d 492, 502 (5th Cir. 2013) (citing
Smith & Fuller, P.A. v. Cooper Tire & Rubber
Co., 685 F.3d 486, 490 (5th Cir. 2012)). Moreover, the
rate must be calculated “at the ‘prevailing
market rates in the relevant community for similar services
by attorneys of reasonably comparable skills, experience, and
reputation.'” Int'l Transp. Workers
Fed'n v. Mi-Das Line, SA, 13-00454, 2013 WL 5329873,
at *3 (E.D. La. Sept. 20, 2013) (quoting Blum v.
Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895 (1984)). Finally, if the
hourly rate is not opposed, then it is prima facie
reasonable. Powell v. C.I.R., 891 F.2d 1167, 1173
(5th Cir. 1990) (quoting Islamic Ctr. of Miss. v. City of
Starkville, 876 F.2d 468, 469 (5th Cir. 1989)).
“attorney travel time is typically compensated at 50%
of the reasonable hourly rate.” Int'l Transp.
Workers Fed'n, 2013 WL ...