Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cuevas v. Crosby Dredging, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 7, 2019

JUSTIN E. CUEVAS
v.
CROSBY DREDGING, LLC, ET. al

         SECTION: “E” (4)

          ORDER

          KAREN WELLS ROBY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Fix Attorneys' Fees (R. Doc. 50). The motion is opposed. R. Doc. 50. The motion was heard on the briefs.

         I. Factual Summary

         This is a maritime personal injury action, whereby Plaintiff Justin E. Cuevas, (“Cuevas”) a seaman who was assigned as a leverman to the Caroline Francis, suffered injuries when he fell while attempting to board the M/V Beau Andrew, a tender-boat with an allegedly unsteady tire-bumper system around the hull of the vessel. R. Doc. 1. On October 10, 2018, the Plaintiff filed suit asserting Jones Act and General Maritime Law claims (including claims of negligence and unseaworthiness) against Defendant Crosby Dredging, LLC (“Crosby Dredging”) as the owner and operator of the Caroline Francis. Id. Later, after the motion was filed, the Plaintiff added Defendant Crosby Tugs, LLC (“Crosby Tugs”) as the owner of the M/V Beau Andrew. R. Docs. 30 & 31.

         This motion arises as a result from the granting of a Motion to Compel, for answers to various Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. The Court found that the plaintiff was owed responses to many of the contested discovery and that there was no good cause for the defendant's failure to provide adequate responses to several discovery requests. This case however, has an additional twist. The Motion to Compel was filed on April 16, 2019 and an order was issued on May 9, 2019. A day before the ruling on the Motion to Compel, the District Judge held a status conference and verbally instructed the attorneys to resolve the issue. R. doc. 48. In the mean-time the undersigned issued her ruling which included the award of attorney's fees. The day after the order was issued, counsel for the defendant emailed to the plaintiff's attorney the supplemented discovery responses. Rec. doc. 53-2.

         Defendant's counsel suggests that because the District Judge orally ordered them to resolve the discovery dispute that the undersigned's finding that responses were due in addition to attorney's fees should be reconsidered and reversed. The District Judges instruction is no different than the undersigned's ruling except that the motion remained pending and to be decided by me. As a result, the Court finds that the underlying order stands and will proceed with considering the appropriateness of the fee sought. Now plaintiff moves the Court to fix fees and costs against the defendants in the amount of $1, 500.00.

         II Standard of Review

         The 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).[1] 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. Id.

         After 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).

         II. Analysis

         A. Reasonableness of the Hourly Rates

         Plaintiff seeks to recover the attorney's fees for work performed by plaintiff's counsel, Joshua Clatyon (“Clayton”) on the Motion to Compel. The rate billed to the client was $250.00 an hour.

         The defendants contend that they do not contest the reasonableness of the rate. As indicated earlier, the defendants believe that no fee ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.