United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
BEST BOILERS ENTERPRISE LLC d/b/a BEST BOILERS AND ADRIAN HAMMOND
D. DICK, DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the Motion for
Attorney's Fees and Court Costs'by
Plaintiff, J & J Sports Productions, Inc.
("Plaintiff'). The motion is unopposed. This motion
comes after a Rulingand
Judgmententered in favor of Plaintiff for claims
brought pursuant to the Communications Act of
and the Cable & Television Consumer Protection and
Competition Act of 1992.
seeks reasonable attorney's fees in an amount ranging
between $3, 000.00 and $4, 500.00. Plaintiff has attached
counsel's billing records for this matter and an
Affidavit by Plaintiff's counsel, Ronnie
J.Berthelot, ("Berthelot"), wherein Berthelot
attests that he is an experienced attorney in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana with nearly thirty-five years of practice
experience, primarily in civil litigation. Berthelot argues
that he has generally been awarded $300.00/hour in similar
cases. Berthelot's billing records show that he billed a
total of 12.3 hours for his work on this case.
Fifth Circuit, the "lodestar" method is used to
calculate reasonable attorneys' fees. The
"lodestar" analysis involves a two-step
procedure. Initially, the district court must
determine the reasonable number of hours expended on the
litigation and the reasonable hourly rates for the
participating lawyers. Then, the court must multiply the
reasonable hours by the reasonable hourly
rates. The product is the "lodestar, "
which the court either accepts or adjusts upward or downward,
depending on the circumstances of the case, assessing the
factors set forth in Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express,
court's discretion in fashioning a reasonable
attorney's fee is broad and reviewable only for an abuse
of discretion, i.e., it will not be reversed unless
there is strong evidence that it is excessive or inadequate,
or the amount chosen is clearly erroneous.To determine a
reasonable fee, a court must provide a concise but clear
explanation of its reasons for the fee award, making
subsidiary factual determinations regarding whether the
requested hourly rate is reasonable, and whether the tasks
reported by counsel were duplicative, unnecessary, or
unrelated to the purposes of the lawsuit. The Fifth
Circuit has noted that its "concern is not that a
complete litany be given, but that the findings be complete
enough to assume a review which can determine whether the
court has used proper factual criteria in exercising its
discretion to fix just compensation."
assessing the reasonableness of attorneys' fees, the
court must first determine the "lodestar" by
multiplying the reasonable number of hours expended and the
reasonable hourly rate for each participating
attorney. The party seeking the fee bears the
burden of proof on this issue.
Court begins by determining whether the number of hours
claimed by Plaintiffs attorney is reasonable. Local Rule 54
provides specific guidance regarding how this burden is met,
stating: "the party desiring to be awarded such fees
shall submit to the court a contemporaneous time report
reflecting the date, time involved, and nature of the
services performed. The report shall be in both narrative and
statistical form and provide hours spent and justification
thereof." "Where the documentation of hours
is inadequate, the district court may reduce the award
accordingly." The burden of proving the reasonableness
of the hours expended is on the fee applicant.
contends he has expended 12.3 attorney hours in this lawsuit.
The Court has reviewed line by line the billing statement
submitted on behalf of counsel and finds the hours expended
to be reasonable. The Court finds that Plaintiff's
counsel has indeed exercised proper billing judgment.
Berthelot struck the hours for clerical work, such as filing
on the Court's electronic filing system. Berthelot
prepared the initial pleadings, the initial disclosures, and
participated in the discovery process. He also drafted the
summary judgment motion. The Court finds 12.3 hours to be a
reasonable expenditure of time for the necessities of this
the Court must determine if the hourly rate of $300.00/hour
for Berthelot's services is reasonable given his ability,
competence, experience, and skill. An attorney's
reasonable hourly rate should be "in line with those
prevailing in the community for similar services by lawyers
of reasonably comparable skill, experience and
reputation." The Fifth Circuit has emphasized that
"the relevant market for purposes of determining the
prevailing rate to be paid in a fee award is the community in
which the district court sits."
has established that he has received this hourly rate in
similar cases in Louisiana district courts. Considering the
related precedent, the Court finds that the hourly rate of
$300/hour is reasonable.
having determined the "lodestar" reasonable hourly
rate and hours for Plaintiffs counsel, and after
consideration of the Johnson factors,  the Court
finds that an attorney's fee in the amount of $3, 690.00
accordance with Local Rule 54(a), the Court will refer the
matter of costs and expenses to ...