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Government Employees Insurance Company v. KJ Chiropractic Center LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

April 5, 2018

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY, GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, GEICO CASUALTY COMPANY and GEICO INDEMNITY COMPANY, Plaintiffs,
v.
KJ CHIROPRACTIC CENTER LLC, WELLNESS PAIN & REHAB, INC., SADAT SMITH, ARTHUR VITO, ESDRAS PIERRE LOUIS, JEAN CASSAMAJOR, ROBERT COHEN, ORLENE JOSEPH, EDNER DESIR, ELAINE FELIX, VLADIMIR JEAN PIERRE, ROBERT THELUSMA, SHENIKA RICHARDSON, SHAYLA GAINES, CHANEL AKINS, QUEENA MCRAE, JEAN DORESTANT and BELLE MANAGEMENT, LLC, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DANIEL C. IRICK, UNITES STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This cause comes before the Court for consideration without oral argument on the following motion:

         MOTION: MOTION IN SUPPORT OF REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES, COSTS, AND EXPENSES RELATIVE TO GEICO'S GRANTED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT (Doc. 663)

         FILED: January 22, 2018

         THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED.

         Procedural Background

         On July 23, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a complaint alleging various causes of action, including causes of action arising under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), against sixteen Defendants. Doc. 1. Since that time Plaintiffs have filed two amended complaints and have joined two additional Defendants. See Docs. 112, 187. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants were part of a comprehensive scheme that was comprised of numerous participants. See Doc. 187. As the Court has previously explained, the scheme involved the recruitment of “‘runners' and other individuals to participate in staged automobile accidents, compensating participants who engaged in those staged automobile accidents, referring those participants to pre-selected clinics for treatment, submitting the automobile insurance claims to [Plaintiffs], and then receiving payment of the insurance benefits from [Plaintiffs].”[1] Doc. 495 at 1-2; see also Doc. 187 at 2-6. As part of the scheme, KJ Chiropractic Center, LLC (KJ Chiropractic) and Wellness Pain & Rehab, Inc. (Wellness) created false treatment records and bills for treatment allegedly rendered by KJ Chiropractic and Wellness. Doc. 187 at 2-6. KJ Chiropractic and Wellness then used the United States Mail to send these false documents to Plaintiffs. Id.; see also Doc. 187-1. As a result, between 2009 and 2012, Defendants fraudulently collected more than $1, 621, 225.43 from Plaintiffs. Docs. 187 at 2-6; 187-1; 187-2.

         On August 22, 2017, the Court granted in part Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment (Doc. 633) against Defendants Jean Dorestant (Dorestant) and Belle Management, LLC (Belle Management). Doc. 649. The following day, the Clerk entered Judgment against Dorestant and Belle Management. Doc. 651.

         On September 29, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion for attorney fees, costs, and expenses to be awarded against Defendants Dorestant and Belle Management. Doc. 654.

         On November 2, 2017, the undersigned recommended that the Court grant in part Plaintiffs' motion for default judgment (Doc. 632) against Defendants Shenika Richardson, Vladimir Jean Pierre, Chanel Akins, Robert Cohen, Jean Cassamajor, Elaine Felix, Esdras Pierre Louis, Edner Desir, and Shayla Gaines (the Default Defendants). Doc. 657. The undersigned further recommended that the Court grant Plaintiffs' and Defendant Robert Thelusma's joint motion for entry of judgment (Doc. 656). Id. The Court adopted the undersigned's recommendations. Doc. 660.

         On November 30, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion for attorney fees, costs, and expenses to be awarded against the Default Defendants. Doc. 658.

         On December 27, 2017, the Court denied Plaintiffs motions for attorney fees, costs, and expenses to be awarded against Dorestant, Belle Management, and the Default Defendants (collectively “Defendants”). Doc. 659. The Court noted that Plaintiffs did not inform the Court how they would like the attorney fees and costs to be apportioned among Defendants, or provide the Court with any information or argument that the Court could use to determine how the Court should apportion the attorney fees and costs among the Defendants. Id. The Court further noted that Plaintiffs did not attach their attorneys' detailed billing records or supporting documentation necessary for the Court to rule on Plaintiffs' request for costs. Id. The Court thus denied Plaintiffs motions and ordered Plaintiffs to file a single motion for attorney fees that addresses the issues identified by the Court. Id.

         On January 22, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their Motion in Support of Reasonable Attorney's Fees, Costs, and Expenses relative to GEICO's Granted Motion for Summary Judgment (See Doc. 649) and Default Judgment (See Doc. 660) (the Motion). Doc. 663. In the Motion, Plaintiffs ask the Court to award $1, 788, 517.63 in attorney fees and $56, 359.81 in reasonable costs jointly and severally against Defendants. Id. To date, Defendants have not responded or objected to Plaintiffs' request.

         Discussion

         a. Entitlement to Attorney Fees

         18 U.S.C. § 1964(c) provides as follows:

Any person injured in his business or property by reason of a violation of section 1962 of this chapter may sue therefor in any appropriate United States district court and shall recover threefold the damages he sustains and the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee, except that no person may rely upon any conduct that would have been actionable as fraud in the purchase or sale of securities to establish a violation of section 1962. . . .

         Here, Plaintiffs prevailed against Defendants under 18 U.S.C. § 1962. See Docs. 649; 657; 660. And Defendants did not object to Plaintiffs' alleged entitlement to attorney fees and costs. Accordingly, the undersigned finds that Plaintiffs are entitled to attorney fees and costs against Defendants.

         b. The Calculation of a Reasonable Attorney Fee

         The Court uses the familiar “lodestar” method in determining a reasonable fee award, which is calculated by multiplying the number of hours reasonably expended by a reasonable hourly rate. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). The party moving for fees has the burden of establishing that the hourly rates and hours expended are ...


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