United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Genesis Marine, LLC
of Delaware's (“Genesis”) Motion for
Attorneys' Fees and Costs (Rec. Doc. 72),
Defendant/Counter-Claimant Horneck Offshore Services,
LLC's (“Hornbeck”) Response Memorandum (Rec.
Doc. 73), and Genesis' Supplemental Memorandum (Rec. Doc.
104). The Court also takes into consideration Hornbeck's
Memorandum in Response to the Court's August 3, 2018
Order (Rec. Doc. 71) and Genesis' Response to
Hornbeck's Memorandum (Rec. Doc. 74). For the reasons
below, IT IS ORDERED that the motion for
attorneys' fees and costs is DENIED.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
is a Delaware limited liability company with its principal
place of business in Texas. See Rec. Doc. 1 at 1.
Hornbeck is a foreign limited liability company with its
principal place of business in Covington, Louisiana. See
several years, Genesis chartered its vessels to Hornbeck at
an agreed upon price according to written
agreements. See id. In accordance with the
written agreements, Genesis issued several invoices to
Hornbeck. See id. at 2. Hornbeck was obligated to
remit to Genesis all payments made to Hornbeck by customers
within ten days. Genesis alleged that Hornbeck breached its
obligation by wrongfully withholding and converting funds
remitted to Hornbeck by customers and tendered to Genesis
only $121, 311.73 as full payment of all amounts due and
owing to Genesis. See id.
brought an action against Hornbeck, claiming breach of
contract, conversion, unjust enrichment, detrimental
reliance, all sums due to it by Hornbeck with interest, and
attorneys' fees and costs. See Rec. Doc. 1.
Hornbeck, citing to an asset purchase agreement between the
two businesses for tug and tank barges, brought several
counterclaims. See Rec. Doc. 8 at 7-14. Specifcally,
Hornbeck alleged suit on open account, breach of contract,
unjust enrichment, and quantum merit. See id. at
18, 2018, trial began. After Hornbeck rested its case, the
parties were ordered to submit post-trial memoranda and joint
stipulations. See Rec. Doc. 56. The parties were
also informed that closing arguments would take place on July
25, 2018. See id. On August 3, 2018, after
considering trial evidence, parties' memoranda, and the
law, this Court ordered “that there be a judgment in
favor of [Genesis] and against [Hornbeck] in the [stipulated]
amount of [$722, 356.35], plus interest at [the] federal rate
and reasonable [attorneys'] fees.” See
Rec. Doc. 70 at 2. The Court also ordered “that
[Hornbeck's] counterclaims [be] dismissed with prejudice,
except for stipulated services. [Genesis'] awarded sum
[was] to be reduced by stipulated amount of [$117,
284.54].” See id.
as to attorneys' fees, the Court ordered that the parties
submit briefing on the following issues:
1. To what extent Hornbeck is entitled to fees for successful
result in seeking payment for shore services, lube and oil,
etc. Including to the extent they might have waived such
2. Amount of fees being sought, including the rate and hours
for legal services.
parties were to brief only for fees on successful claims and
entitlement thereto. See id. at 3. Parties submitted
said briefings. See Rec. Doc. Nos. 71, 74. On August
10, 2018, Genesis filed a motion for attorneys' fee and
costs. See Rec. Doc. 72. On August 17, 2018,
Hornbeck responded in opposition. See Rec. Doc. Nos.
Country, the prevailing party of a cause of action is usually
not entitled to recover attorneys' fees and costs from
the non-prevailing party. See Galveston County Navigation
Dist. No. 1 v. Hopson Towing Co., 92 F.3d 353, 356 (5th
Cir. 1996). This general rule is known as the “American
Rule” and applies in both maritime and admiralty causes
of action. See id. Pursuant to the American Rule,
parties must pay their own attorneys' fees and costs
unless an applicable statute or enforceable contract exists.
contracts contain what is commonly referred to as a
prevailing party provision. “Prevailing party
provisions generally state that when a dispute over the
contract arises the party who loses in litigation must pay
the legal fees of the party who prevails in
litigation.” See Malin Int'l Ship Repair &
Drydock, Inc. v. M/V Seim Swordfish, 611 F.Supp.2d 627,
636 (E.D. La. 2009). Such provisions have the effect of law
between the parties of the contract. See Vega v.
Autumnwood Homes, Inc., 2017 LEXIS 184180 *1, *6 (E.D.
La. 2017). Courts are to interpret and ...