Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Healthplan Services, Inc. v. Dixit

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

December 20, 2019

HEALTHPLAN SERVICES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
RAKESH DIXIT, FERON KUTSOMARKOS, E-INTEGRATE, INC., KNOWMENTUM, INC., and MEDIA SHARK PRODUCTIONS, INC., Defendants. Timekeeper Hours Rate per Hour Total Timekeeper Hours Adjusted Rate per Hour Total

          ORDER

          AMANDA ARNOLD SANSONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         HealthPlan Services, Inc. moved for fees, sanctions, and order to show cause because Rakesh Dixit, Media Shark Productions, Inc., and Knowmentum, Inc. (collectively, the Dixit defendants) violated the July 29 discovery order. (Docs. 168, 178). The court granted HealthPlan's motion to the extent that the Dixit defendants must pay HealthPlan's reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred for following up on the previously order discovery from the July 29 hearing, preparing the two sanctions motions, and adding already resolved discovery issues to the joint notice of discovery disputes. (Doc. 200, ¶ 2). After the parties failed to agree on a reasonable amount of fees and costs, HealthPlan now seeks an award of $54, 065.75 in attorney's fees and costs. (Doc. 206). The Dixit defendants oppose the motion. (Doc. 221).

         I. BACKGROUND

         HealthPlan sued Rakesh Dixit, Feron Kutsomarkos, E-Integrate, Knowmentum, and Media Shark Productions for misappropriating a trade secret, infringing a copyright, breaching a contract, and violating Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. (Doc. 37). The Dixit defendants unsuccessfully moved to dismiss HealthPlan's complaint. (Docs. 49, 76). After the court issued the order denying the Dixit defendants' motion to dismiss, the court held a preliminary pretrial conference and directed the parties to file an updated case management report. (Docs. 107, 109). The parties filed a case management report (Doc. 113), and the court incorporated the report in the Case Management and Scheduling Order (Doc. 116).

         Before the June 25 Case Management and Scheduling Order, the court handled various discovery motions between the two parties. (Docs. 103, 104, 105, 106, 119). The discovery disputes continued between the two parties with additional discovery conferences. (Docs. 128, 197). At the July 29 hearing, the court provided an extensive list of discovery issues to be resolved between the parties, specifically HealthPlan and the Dixit defendants. (Doc. 141). However, conflicts continued between HealthPlan and the Dixit defendants, and the court revisited the same discovery issues from the July 29 hearing at the October 16 hearing. (Docs. 191, 193, 200).

         HealthPlan moved for sanctions against the Dixit defendants (Docs. 168, 178), which the court granted to the extent that the Dixit defendants must pay the reasonable attorney's fees and costs associated with following up on discovery from the July 29 hearing, preparing the two sanctions motions, and adding already resolved discovery issues to the joint notice of discovery disputes. (Doc. 200, ¶ 2). The Dixit defendants' failure to comply with the July 29 order was not substantially justified and other circumstances did not make an award of expenses against the Dixit defendants unjust. (Id.). The court ordered HealthPlan to submit its motion for attorney's fees and costs. (Id. at ¶ 2.a). HealthPlan now seeks an award of $54, 065.75 in attorney's fees and costs. (Doc. 206). The Dixit defendants object to the HealthPlan's hourly rate and HealthPlan's number of hours expended. (Doc. 221).

         II. ANALYSIS

         HealthPlan now seeks an award of $54, 065.75 in attorney's fees and costs:[1]

Timekeeper
Hours
Rate per Hour
Total

Alejandro Fernandez (Partner/Shareholder)

58.80

$605

$35, 574.00

William Frankel (Partner/Shareholder)

6.65

$825

$5, 486.25

Evi Christou (Associate)

34.10

$355

$12, 105.50

Cindy Lovell (Paralegal)

1.5

$265

$397.50

Total

101.5

$53, 563.25

         The initial burden of proof that the fee is reasonable falls on HealthPlan, who must submit evidence about the number of hours expended and the hourly rate claimed. See Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983); Norman v. Hous. Auth. of City of Montgomery, 836 F.2d 1292, 1303 (11th Cir. 1988). The starting point for setting an attorney's fee is to determine the “lodestar” figure: the number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate. Hensley, 461 U.S. at 433; Norman, 836 F.2d at 1299. 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. Gaines v. Dougherty Cty. Bd. of Edu., 775 F.2d 1565, 1571 (11th Cir. 1985).

         Most or all of these factors are subsumed in the calculation of the lodestar:

(1) the time and labor required; (2) the novelty and difficulty of the questions; (3) the skill required to perform the legal services properly; (4) the preclusion of other employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the case; (5) the customary fee in the community; (6) whether the fee is fixed or contingent; (7) time limitations imposed by the client or circumstances; (8) the amount involved and the results obtained; (9) the experience, reputation, and ability of the attorney; (10) the “undesirability” of the case; (11) the nature and length of any professional relationship with the client; and (12) awards in similar cases.

Norman, 836 F.2d 1292 (citing Johnson v. Ga. Hwy. Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717- 19 (5th Cir. 1974)).

         The reasonableness of the rate charged is determined by its congruity with “those prevailing in the community for similar services by lawyers of reasonably comparable skill, experience, and reputation.” Blum v. Stenson,465 U.S. 886, 896 n. 11 (1984). The going rate in the community is the most critical factor in ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.