Calleja v. Cannon et al

Filing 60

ORDER granting Plaintiff's 53 Motion for Attorneys' Fees. The Clerk shall enter judgment in favor of Plaintiff Philip Calleja and against Defendants Sean Cannon and the Cannon Law Firm, PLLC, in the amount of $34,662.00, plus interest at the federal rate of 1.11% from the date of judgment until paid. Signed by Senior Judge Neil V Wake on 5/8/2017. (ATD)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Philip Calleja, Plaintiff, 10 11 12 No. CV-15-01120-PHX-NVW ORDER v. Sean Cannon and Cannon Law Firm, PLLC, 13 Defendants. 14 15 16 Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees (Doc. 53). I. BACKGROUND 17 In this action, Plaintiff prevailed on his claims under the Fair Debt Collection 18 Practice Act (“FDCPA”), after which the parties stipulated for entry of judgment in the 19 principal amount of $1,000.00, the maximum amount of statutory damages available 20 under the FDCPA. (Docs. 50, 51.) The parties stipulated that Plaintiff is entitled to an 21 award of attorney’s fees and costs reasonably incurred in this matter. 22 Judgment was entered in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendants in the amount of 23 $1,000.00. (Doc. 52.) The Court further ordered that “Plaintiff may claim award of 24 attorney’s fees pursuant to Federal Rule 54 and Local Rule 54.” (Id.) (Doc. 51.) 25 26 27 28 II. LEGAL STANDARD Any debt collector who fails to comply with the FDCPA is liable for not only damages, but also “in the case of any successful action to enforce the foregoing liability, 1 the costs of the action, together with a reasonable attorney’s fee as determined by the 2 court.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(3). “The FDCPA’s statutory language makes an award of 3 fees mandatory.” Camacho v. Bridgeport Financial, Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 978 (9th Cir. 4 2008); accord Evon v. Law Offices of Sidney Mickell, 688 F.3d 1015, 1032 (9th Cir. 5 2012). 6 method, which is calculated by multiplying the number of hours the prevailing party 7 reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable hourly rate. Id. The lodestar 8 figure is presumptively the fee award, but the district court may adjust the lodestar to 9 account for other factors if circumstances warrant. Id. “The reason for mandatory fees is 10 that congress chose a ‘private attorney general’ approach to assume enforcement of the 11 FDCPA.” 12 III. District courts must calculate awards for attorney’s fees using the lodestar ANALYSIS 13 Plaintiff requests an award of attorney’s fees in the amount of $34,662.00. 14 Plaintiff has submitted billing records showing that Plaintiff’s counsel expended a total of 15 94.60 hours of attorney time, billed at an hourly rate of $325.00, and two paralegals 16 expended a total of 20.40 hours, one of whom has an hourly rate of $75.00 and the other 17 $95.00. He has submitted evidence supporting the reasonableness of the billing rates and 18 hours expended. 19 Defendants do not dispute the reasonableness of the hours expended or the hourly 20 rates. 21 controversy in this case, which would conflict with congressional intent. They ask only that the fee award be reasonably related to the amount in 22 Plaintiff’s counsel’s efforts in this case were reasonable, especially in light of 23 Defendants’ scorched-earth defense in support of its FDCPA violations. Defendants 24 offered charts and schedules of supposed payments and credits that turned false upon 25 comparison to undisputed primary facts. Defendants cannot complain that Plaintiff’s 26 counsel slogged through the false compilations, as did this Court, to expose the falsity of 27 Defendants’ defense. That took time. Defendants must now pay further for the exposure 28 -2- 1 of its attempted deception. Plaintiff’s hours, rates and total fees are reasonable and will 2 be awarded in the amount claimed. 3 4 5 6 The Court finds that Plaintiff is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees under the FDCPA and the amount requested is reasonable. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees (Doc. 53) is granted. 7 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk enter judgment in favor of Plaintiff 8 Philip Calleja and against Defendants Sean Cannon and the Cannon Law Firm, PLLC, in 9 the amount of $34,662.00, plus interest at the federal rate of 1.11% from the date of 10 11 judgment until paid. Dated this 8th day of May, 2017. 12 13 Neil V. Wake Senior United States District Judge 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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