United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
ARNOLD SAXSONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Pena seeks an award of attorney's fees and costs. (Docs.
initiated this action against RDI, LLC (RDI) for unpaid
overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). On
April 3, 2019, a jury awarded Pena $20, 979.25 in damages.
(Doc. 77). An April 23, 2019 Order added liquidated damages
also in the amount of $20, 979.25. (Doc. 83). Pena now seeks
his attorney's fees and costs. (Docs. 87, 90). RDI did
principle that guides motions for attorney's fees is the
American Rule: Each party must pay its own attorney's
fees unless a statute or contract provides otherwise.
Baker Botts LLP v. ASARCO LLC, 135 S.Ct. 2158, 2164
(2015) (quotation and citation omitted). In FLSA cases, 29
U.S.C. § 216(b) mandates an award of reasonable
attorney's fees and costs to a prevailing plaintiff.
Weisel v. Singapore Joint Venture, Inc., 602 F.2d
1185, 1191 (5th Cir. 1979). A prevailing plaintiff is
“one who has been awarded some relief by the
court” and “has prevailed on the merits of at
least some of his claims.” Buckhannon Bd. &
Care Home, Inc. v. Virginia Department of Health and Human
Resources, 532 U.S. 598, 603 (2001) (citing Hanrahan
v. Hampton, 446 U.S. 754, 758, (1980)). The court
entered judgment in favor of Pena on May 15, 2019, making
Pena the prevailing party in this case. (Doc. 86). Therefore,
Pena may collect the value of his reasonable attorney's
fees from RDI.
court uses the “lodestar” method to determine the
reasonable fee amount. The lodestar method calculates
“the number of hours reasonably expended on the
litigation multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate.”
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). The
burden is on the party seeking fees to submit adequate
documentation. Id. Once the fee-seeking party
submits adequate documentation supporting the hours worked,
the court excludes unreasonably “excessive, redundant,
or otherwise unnecessary” hours. Id. at 434.
court must also determine a reasonable hourly rate.
Duckworth v. Whisenant, 97 F.3d 1393, 1396 (11th
Cir. 1996). “A reasonable hourly rate is the prevailing
market rate in the relevant legal community for similar
services by lawyers of reasonably comparable skills,
experience, and reputation.” Norman v. Housing
Authority of the City of Montgomery, 836 F.2d 1292, 1299
(11th Cir. 1988). The burden is on the party seeking these
fees to submit “satisfactory evidence that the
requested rate is in line with prevailing market
rates.” Id. After multiplying the number of
hours reasonably expended by the reasonable hourly rate, the
court has the discretion to raise or lower the fee award
“depending upon a number of factors, including the
quality of the results and representation of the
litigation.” Duckworth, 97 F.3d at 1396.
seeks an attorney's fee award of $91, 343.25. Broken
down, this award includes 208.65 attorney hours at an hourly
rate of $425 each for Attorneys De Arcangelis and Murthy and
25.4 paralegal hours at an hourly rate of $105 for paralegal
work. (Doc. 87 at Att. 1). Pena's counsel submitted
detailed affidavits in support of this request.
(Id.). See also Femia v. Melbourne Park,
LLC, No. 6:15-cv-113-Orl-22GJK, 2015 WL 2084725, at *3
(M.D. Fla. April 27, 2015) (approving Attorney De
Arcangelis's $425 hourly rate). Pena's counsel also
reduced their billed hours to account for potentially
excessive or redundant billing. (Doc. 87 at Att. 1). RDI has
not responded to this motion, and its time to do so has
expired. Therefore, Pena's motion is presumed to be
unopposed. Carruega v. Steve's Painting, Inc.,
No. 2:16-cv-715-FtM-29CM, 2017 WL 3387228, at *3 (M.D. Fla.
Aug. 7, 2017).
on a review of the submissions, the court finds the requested
hourly rate and hours expended to be reasonable. The
requested rate is reasonable in light of the attorneys'
credentials, their experience in this area of law resulting
in their efficiency in completing tasks, their success at
trial, and the opposing party's failure to object to this
request. The request for attorney's fees is granted.
also seeks taxable costs of $3, 954.12. (Doc. 87 at Att. 1).
Again, because RDI has not responded, Pena's motion is
presumed unopposed. Carruega, No.
2:16-cv-715-FtM-29CM, 2017 WL 3387228, at *3.
explicit statutory or contractual language, a court only may
award the prevailing party costs outlined in 28 U.S.C.
Sections 1821 and 1920. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1); Crawford
Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 445
(1987); Maris Distrib. Co. v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc.,
302 F.3d 1207, 1225 (11th Cir. 2002). The costs a court may
award under Section 1920 “are limited to relatively
minor, incidental expenses.” Taniguchi v. Kan.Pac.
Saipan, Ltd., 566 U.S. 560, 573 (2012). As a result,
costs awarded under Section 1920 “almost always amount
to less than the successful litigant's total ...