United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
PAUL BATISTE d/b/a ARTANG PUBLISHING, LLC, a Louisiana Limited Liability Company
RYAN LEWIS, BEN HAGGERTY, Professionally known as MACKLEMORE, Professionally and collectively known as MACKLEMOE AND RYAN LEWIS, Individuals, MACKLEMORE PUBLISHING, RYAN LEWIS PUBLISH, MACKLEMORE, LLC ALTERNATIVE DISTRIBUTION ALLIANCE, ANDREW JOSLYN, ALLEN STONE, ANDREW JOSLYN MUSIC, LLC, STICKY STONES PUBLISHING
WELLS ROBY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Motion to Fix Attorneys' Fees (R.
Doc. 91). The motion is opposed. R. Doc. 99. The
motion was heard on the briefs.
copyright infringement case was filed by Paul Batiste, a New
Orleans jazz musician that is the founding member and owner
of Artang Publishing, LLC and the Batiste Brothers Band.
Id. at p. 2. Defendants Ryan Lewis and Ben Haggerty
are a famous hip-hop duo known as “Macklemore and Ryan
Lewis, ” who have achieved international success for
their singles “Thrift Shop” and “Can't
Hold Us. Id.” Defendants have also received
several Grammy awards, including those for best new artist,
best album, and best rap performance for their single
“Thrift Shop.” Id.
alleges that defendants willfully infringed on his copyrights
by using unauthorized samples and copying elements of eleven
of plaintiff's original songs in the composition of
“Thrift Shop, ” “Can't Hold Us, ”
“Need to Know, ” “Same Love, ” and
“Neon Cathedral.” Id. Plaintiff also
sued several others who were credited with writing the songs,
and the publishing companies who own the rights to the
compositions. Id. Plaintiff contends, inter alia,
that he is entitled to actual damages and defendants'
profits in connection with the infringed copy-righted songs.
R. Doc. 40 at p. 13-22.
in this case was a bit taxing. Nonetheless, the Court issued
an Order & Reasons (R.Doc. 89, revised order) on the
Defendants Motion to Compel finding that not only was the
Plaintiff required to respond to the written discovery but
also to supplement his discover responses. Additionally, the
court found that due to the failure to adequately respond and
in face of the unopposed motion to compel that attorney's
fees were appropriate.
Standard of Review
Supreme Court has indicated that the “lodestar”
calculation is the “most useful starting point”
for determining the award of attorney's fees. Hensley
v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). The lodestar
equals “the number of hours reasonably expended on the
litigation multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate.”
Id. The lodestar is presumed to yield a reasonable
fee. La. Power & Light Co. v. Kellstrom, 50 F.3d
319, 324 (5th Cir. 1995). After determining the lodestar, the
Court must then consider the applicability and weight of the
twelve factors set forth in Johnson v. Ga. Highway
Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-19 (5th Cir.
1974). The Court can make upward or downward
adjustments to the lodestar figure if the Johnson
factors warrant such modifications. See Watkins v.
Fordice, 7 F.3d 453, 457 (5th Cir. 1993). However, the
lodestar should be modified only in exceptional cases.
the calculation of the lodestar, the burden then shifts to
the party opposing the fee to contest the reasonableness of
the hourly rate requested or the reasonableness of the hours
expended “by affidavit or brief with sufficient
specificity to give fee applicants notice” of the
objections. Rode v. Dellarciprete, 892 F.2d 1177,
1183 (3d Cir. 1990).
Reasonableness of the Hourly Rates
seek to recover the attorney's fees for Erin Dennis
(“Dennis”) of Loeb & Loeb LLP and Mary Elen
Roy (“Roy”) and Dan Zimmerman
(“Zimmerman”) of Phelps Dunbar as a result of
work performed on one Motion to Compel. The rates billed to
the client range from $250 to $375.
Plaintiff contends that the rates charged by the Loeb &
Loeb LLP attorneys exceed the rates available in the New
Orleans Market. The Plaintiff contends that reasonable rates
are $200 per hour for partner level and $150 per hour for
associates. Therefore, Batiste contsends ...