United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
C. BUCKLEW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Costs and Attorneys' Fees. (Doc. No. 46). As explained
below, the motion is granted.
filed suit against Defendant on November 1, 2016, asserting
claims for violations of the Truth in Leasing Act (Counts I
and II), as well as a claim for breach of contract (Count
III). (Doc. No.1). Plaintiff alleged that Defendant failed to
properly compensate it and made unlawful deductions from the
compensation it owed to Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 1). In response,
Defendant filed an answer and counterclaim for breach of two
contracts. (Doc. No. 8).
October 23, 2017, Defendant's counsel withdrew from this
case, and the Court gave Defendant thirty days to obtain new
counsel. (Doc. No. 32). Defendant failed to obtain new
counsel, and Plaintiff moved for entry of default against
Defendant, because a limited liability company must appear
through counsel. (Doc. No. 34). The Clerk entered default
against Defendant. (Doc. No. 35). On January 30, 2018, the
Court dismissed Defendant's counterclaim for lack of
prosecution. (Doc. No. 39).
Plaintiff moved for default judgment. (Doc. No. 38). The
Court held a hearing on the motion and then granted default
judgment in the amount of $61, 237.41. The Court retained
jurisdiction to determine the issues of attorneys' fees
Motion for Costs
seeks costs in the amount of $400 for the filing fee it paid.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920(1), this cost is taxable.
Accordingly, the Court awards Plaintiff $400 in costs.
Motion for Attorneys' Fees
the Court has granted judgment for Plaintiff on its claims
for violations of the Truth in Leasing Act, brought pursuant
to 49 U.S.C. § 14704(a)(2), Plaintiff is entitled to
attorneys' fees, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 14704(e).
Plaintiff seeks $35, 556 in attorneys' fees. Before
awarding attorneys' fees, the Court must determine if the
amount requested is reasonable.
starting point in determining reasonable attorneys' fees
is the lodestar, which is properly calculated by multiplying
the number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation
times a reasonable hourly rate. Norman v. Hous. Auth. of
City of Montgomery, 836 F.2d 1292, 1299 (11th Cir.
1988)(citation omitted). Furthermore, “[t]he fee
applicant bears the burden of establishing entitlement and
documenting the appropriate hours and hourly rates.”
Id. at 1303 (citation omitted).
reasonable hourly rate is based upon “the prevailing
market rate in the relevant legal community for similar
services by lawyers of reasonably comparable skills,
experience, and reputation.” Id. at 1299
(citations omitted). An applicant may meet its burden of
establishing a reasonably hourly rate by setting forth direct
evidence of rates charged under similar circumstances or
submitting opinion evidence of reasonable rates. See
id. In addition, the Court may use its own expertise and
judgment to make an appropriate independent assessment of the
reasonable value of an attorney's services. See
id. at 1304. In calculating what hours were reasonably
expended on litigation, the Court should exclude excessive,
unnecessary, and redundant hours, and it should also exclude
any time spent litigating discrete and unsuccessful claims.
See id. at 1301, 1302 (citation omitted).
request for attorneys' fees is based upon the following:
Plaintiff seeks attorneys' fees in the amount of $5, 325
for the work performed by Brian Mathis, Esq. Mathis is
partner at his law firm with 10 years of legal experience.
Mathis performed 21.3 hours of work at a rate of $250 per
also seeks attorneys' fees in the amount of $24, 625 for
the work performed by Joseph Parrish, Jr., Esq. Parrish is an
associate at his law firm with over 6 years of legal