United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER AWARDING ATTORNEY'S FEES TO THE DEFENDANTS
AND AGAINST MR. MALIK LEIGH, ESQ.
WILLIAM MATTHEWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
CAUSE is before the Court upon the Defendants' Motion for
Attorneys' Fees and Costs re: Defendants' Motions to
Suspend/Reschedule Deposition and for Protective Order and
Motion for Protective Order ("Motion")
[16-cv-81612, DE 59; 16-cv-81624, DE 56], which was filed in
two related cases. The Motion is fully briefed. The Court has
carefully reviewed the Motion, response, reply, and the
Court's prior orders in the cases, as well the entire
docket in each case.
28, 2017, the undersigned entered an Order Supplementing the
Court's Prior Discovery Orders and Addressing Social
Media Posts of Attorney Malik Leigh, Esq. [16-cv-81612, DE
58; 16-cv-81624, DE 54] in each case. The Court explained
that, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(5)(A)
and the inherent authority and jurisdiction of the Court,
Malik Leigh, Esq., an attorney who is representing himself in
case number 16-cv-81612 and is representing the plaintiff in
case number 16-cv-81624, was to pay the Defendants for
attorney's fees and costs expended by defense counsel in
filing and litigating Defendants' Motions to Suspend and
Reschedule the Deposition of Defendants Avossa and Epps for
Safety Concerns and for Protective Order [16-cv-81612, DE 48;
16-cv-81624, DE 44] and in filing and litigating
Defendants' Motions for Protective Order [16-cv-81612, DE
38; 16-cv-81624, DE 36]. Id.
Court directed the Defendants to file one memorandum in both
cases in support of its request for an award of expenses
which would address the hourly rate of counsel, the time
expended, the amount of reasonable attorney's fees and
costs that the Defendants incurred in drafting an arguing the
motions in each case, and any costs incurred. [16-cv-81612,
DE 58; 16-cv-81624, DE 54]. The Court also directed Mr. Leigh
to file a memorandum responding and/or objecting to the
amount of attorney's fees and costs sought by the
Defendants, including the hourly rate of counsel and time
claimed to have been expended by the Defendants' counsel.
Id. Finally, the Court provided the Defendants with
an opportunity to file a reply. Id. at p. 14.
Defendants' Motion, they contend that they incurred $6,
350.00 in attorney's fees in filing and litigating the
Defendants' Motions to Suspend and Reschedule the
Deposition of Defendants Avossa and Epps for Safety Concerns
and for Protective Order [16-cv-81612, DE 48; 16-cv-81624, DE
44] and filing and litigating the Defendants' Motion for
Protective Order [16-cv-81612, DE 38; 16-cv-81624, DE 36], as
well as $3, 349.09 in costs. [16-cv-81612, DE 59, pp. 2-3;
16-cv-81624, DE 56, pp. 2-3]. They further explain that the
Defendants' counsel's hourly rate is $250.
Id. at p. 2. Finally, the Defendants contend that
certain costs were incurred ordering expedited deposition
excerpts to support their discovery motions and compensating
off-duty school police for attending the depositions.
Id. at pp. 2-3. Attached to the Motion is the
affidavit of Shawntoyia N. Bernard, Esq. [DE 16-cv-81612, DE
59-1; DE 81624, DE 56-1].
response, the Plaintiff in each case filed a Motion to Alter
or Amend Judgment under Rule 59(e) and Plaintiffs Response
and Objection to Defendants' Motion for Attorneys'
Fees and Costs re: Defendants' Motions to
Suspend/Reschedule Depositions and Protective Order and
Motion for Protective Order [16-cv-81612, DE 61; 16-cv-81624,
DE 57]. The Plaintiffs object to the
Defendants' Motion on the basis that the Defendants
engaged in block billing and provided insufficient detail in
their billing records. [16-cv-81612, DE 61, pp. 14-16;
16-cv-81624; DE 57, pp. 14-16]. They also object to the costs
incurred because the "costs of security detail" do
not fall within the costs related to filing and litigating
the discovery motions at issue. Id. at p. 16. The
Plaintiffs also claim that the Defendants have double billed
for security, that the issue of costs were not discussed
ahead of time, that the Defendants did not try to mitigate
costs, and that the Defendants are "trying to recuperate
costs they would have paid in the ordinary course of the
day." Id. at p. 18.
reply, the Defendants first note that they have now removed
all overtime hours for school police associated with a
different related case. [16-cv-81612, DE 67, p. 2;
16-cv-81624, DE 64]. They ask the Court to "remove
$918.06 from Defendants' request, thereby reducing the
total fees and costs award sought by Defendants to $8,
781.03." Id. at p. 3. The Defendants argue that
they have provided sufficient detail of the time spent by
counsel in drafting and arguing the two discovery motions at
issue and the time spent preparing for cancelled depositions.
Id. The Defendants also contend that their counsel
have not improperly used block billing in their time entries.
Id. at pp. 3-4. The Defendants assert that the
Plaintiffs' objection that certain time entries reflect
multiple attorneys performing the same task is unsupported
and meritless. Id. at p. 4. Finally, the Defendants
maintain that all of their costs should be awarded.
Id. at p. 5.
reasonable attorney's fee award is "properly
calculated by multiplying the number of hours reasonably
expended on the litigation times a reasonable hourly
rate." Am. Civil Liberties Union v. Barnes, 168
F.3d 423, 427 (11th Cir. 1999) (quoting Blum v.
Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 888 (1994)). This
"lodestar" may then be adjusted for the results
obtained by the attorney. See Barnes, 168 F.3d at
427 (citing Loranger v. Stierheim, 10 F.3d 776, 781
(11th Cir. 1994)). The reasonable hourly rate is defined as
the "prevailing market rate in the relevant legal
community for similar services by lawyers of reasonably
comparable skills, experience, and reputation."
Barnes, 168 F.3d at 436 (quoting Norman v.
Housing Auth. of Montgomery, 836 F.2d 1292, 1299 (11th
regard to the type of evidence that the fee claimant should
produce in support of a claim, in Barnes, the
Eleventh Circuit has stated,
The "fee applicant bears the burden of establishing
entitlement and documenting the appropriate hours and hourly
rates." Norman, 836 F.2d at 1303. That burden
includes "supplying the court with specific and detailed
evidence from which the court can determine the reasonable
hourly rate. Further, fee counsel should have maintained
records to show the time spent on the different claims, and
the general subject matter of the time expenditures ought to
be set out with sufficient particularity so that the district
court can assess the time claimed for each activity .... A
well-prepared fee petition ...