United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney Fees. (R.
Doc. 26). The motion is opposed. (R. Doc. 27). Plaintiff
filed a Reply. (R. Doc. 30).
31, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel asserting that
Defendants did not respond to certain written discovery. (R.
Doc. 24). Defendants failed to file a timely opposition.
Accordingly, the Court granted the Motion to Compel and
awarded Plaintiff the recovery of reasonable expenses
incurred in making the motion, including attorney's fees,
pursuant to Rule 37(a)(5)(A) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. (R. Doc. 25). The Order provides that if the
parties could not reach resolution on a reasonable amount of
expenses to be paid, Plaintiff may file a Motion for Fees and
Costs setting forth the reasonable amount of costs and
attorney's fees to be paid by Defendants, including
evidentiary support, incurred in obtaining the Court's
now seek recovery of $445 as the measure of the reasonable
attorney fees incurred in obtaining the Court's order.
Plaintiff's enrolled counsel, Donna Grodner, submits an
Affidavit and time records providing that her associate,
Zatabia Williams, billed 3.56 hours at $125 an hour with
respect to the Motion to Compel. (R. Docs. 21-3, 26-4).
opposing the motion, Defendants assert that the amount sought
is excessive, Ms. Williams' hourly rate is too high, and
recovery should not be allowed (or the hourly rate should be
reduced to $85 as a reasonable paralegal rate) because Ms.
Williams is not enrolled in this action or admitted to
practice in the district. (R. Doc. 27).
district court has determined that a party is entitled to an
award of attorney's fees, as in this case, it must find
the number of hours reasonably expended on the
and the reasonable hourly rate for the attorney's
services. Wegner v. Standard Ins. Co., 129 F.3d 814,
822 (5th Cir. 1997). The court then multiplies those two
figures together to determine the “lodestar”
amount of attorney's fees. Id. The lodestar
amount is presumed to be the reasonable fee, but it may be
adjusted upward or downward after consideration of the
factors set forth in Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express,
Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-719 (5th Cir.
reviewed the Motion to Compel, the documentation provided by
Plaintiff, and the briefing of the parties, the Court finds
that $250 is a reasonable award of attorney fees incurred in
bringing Plaintiff's Motion to Compel. The Motion to
Compel does not address any substantive disputes other than
Defendants' failure to provide responses to
Plaintiff's Second Interrogatories and Requests for
Production, which consist of two interrogatories and two
requests for production, on the date agreed upon by the
parties. Given the brevity of the Motion to Compel and
supporting memorandum (which mostly reiterates language in
the motion), the Court finds a reasonable amount of time to
expend on the Motion to Compel to be two hours “spent
in preparing the actual discovery motion.” See
Areizaga v. ADW Corp., No. 14-2899, 2016 WL 3406071, at
*3 (N.D. Tex. June 21, 2016). Ms. Williams' hourly rate
of $125 is reasonable for an attorney in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. While Ms. Williams is not enrolled in this action
or admitted to practice in the district, there is no dispute
that she drafted the Motion to Compel and conferenced with
defense counsel in her capacity as an attorney prior to the
filing of the Motion to Compel. There is nothing to indicate
that defense counsel objected or otherwise expressed concern
over Ms. Williams' capacity to handle these
on the foregoing, the Court finds the appropriate lodestar to
be calculated at 2 hours at $125 an hour ($250). Plaintiff
does not seek any costs in addition to attorney fees. The
Court finds no basis for reducing the lodestar figure.
on the foregoing, IT IS ORDERED that
Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney Fees (R. Doc. 26) is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Rule
37(a)(5)(C) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this
Court's prior Order (R. Doc. 25), Defendants shall pay
Plaintiff the amount of $250 in reasonable
expenses incurred in bringing the Motion to Compel within
14 days of the date of this Order.
 Counsel is “charged with proving
that they exercised billing judgment.” Winget v.
Corporate Green, LLC, No. 09-0229, 2011 WL 2173840, *4
(M.D. La. 2011) (quoting Walker v. U.S. Dept. of Housing
and Urban Development, 99 F.3d 761, 770 (5th Cir.
1996)). Attorneys exercise billing judgment by not charging
for time that is unproductive, excessive, or duplicative when
seeking a fee award. Id.
 Those factors include the following:
(1) the time and labor required; (2) the novelty and
difficulty of the questions presented; (3) the skill required
to perform the legal service properly; (4) the preclusion of
other employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the
case; (5) the customary fee; (6) whether the fee is fixed or
contingent; (7) the time limitations imposed by the client or
the circumstances; (8) the amount of money involved and the
results obtained; (9) the experience, reputation, and ability
of the attorneys; (10) the undesirability of ...