Orange County Electrical Industry Health and Welfare Trust Fund et al v. Koester Electric, Inc.

Filing 14

ORDER by Judge Whyte granting 10 Motion for Default Judgment (rmwlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/6/2010)

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Orange County Electrical Industry Health and Welfare Trust Fund et al v. Koester Electric, Inc. Doc. 14 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 v. KOESTER ELECTRIC, INC., a California Corporation, Defendant. Plaintiffs' motion for default judgment came on for hearing before the court on April 30, 2010. Defendant made no appearance and did not oppose the motion. By their motion, plaintiffs seek default judgment in the amount of $109,967.47 in delinquent contributions, liquidated damages, and interest through April 16, 2010, plus $24.95 in interest per day after April 16, 2010 until judgment, plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 1145. Upon review of plaintiffs' moving papers, the court was satisfied that entry of default judgment was appropriate, but was concerned regarding the claimed attorney's fees because the descriptions of the services rendered in some of the invoices submitted in support of the motion ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT--No. C-09-3835 RMW TER E-FILED on 8/6/10 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SAN JOSE DIVISION ORANGE COUNTY ELECTRICAL INDUSTRY HEALTH AND WELFARE TRUST FUND; LOCAL UNION NO. 441 OF THE INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS; and DOUGLASS CHAPPELL, as Trustee of the above TRUST FUND, Plaintiffs, No. C-09-3835 RMW ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT [Re Docket No. 10] Dockets.Justia.com 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 appeared to relate to other litigation, although presumably involving the same defendant. Plaintiffs' counsel agreed to review the fee request and submit a clarifying declaration, which she did on May 12, 2010 and through which plaintiffs now seek $5,508.47 of which $4,446 is for attorney's fees and $1,062.47 is for out-of-pocket costs. The court has reviewed the amended declaration of counsel and still has some concerns regarding the claim for fees. First, as a preliminary matter, although the declaration states that true and accurate copies of the monthly billing invoices are attached as an exhibit, what has in fact been submitted appears to be "case activity" printout/worksheet, rather than invoices, for the time prior to April 2010, along with the May 3, 2010 invoice for time and expenses incurred in April. The court will assume, however, that the information contained on this printout is substantively the same as what is contained within the monthly billing invoices, and more importantly, that it accurately reflects the time and cost entries within counsel's billing system and from which the invoices were generated. Second, although counsel's declaration states that plaintiffs seek a total of $5,508.47 of which $4,446 is for claimed attorney's fees and $1,062.47 is for claimed out of pocket expenses, the supporting documents do not support this assertion. Specifically, Exhibit A to counsel's declaration reflects a total of $5,193.97 sought, of which $4,602 is for attorney's fees and only $591.97 is for expenses. The court will allow only the lower figure as further adjusted as set forth below. Third, some of the time entries appear to refer to other matters, specifically, Item 77 (referring to a prior settlement agreement, with no apparent application to the present matter) and Item 79 (referring to revising a summary judgment motion, where none was filed in this matter). These items, totaling $390, are therefore disallowed. Fourth, the court observes that counsel spent more than twice the amount of time in seeking default and default judgment than was spent in drafting the complaint (9.1 hours compared with 4.5 hours), and this does not include the time spent scheduling the motion and in attending the hearing (a further 3.4 hours). The court reduces the fee for the services related to the obtaining of the default and default judgment by $390 ($195 x 2). ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT--No. C-09-3835 RMW TER 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Nevertheless, the court finds that the overall amount of attorney's fees claimed, as adjusted, is reasonable, as is the hourly rate and overall hours billed. Thus, the motion for attorney's fees and costs is granted in the amount of $4,413.97 ($3,822 for attorney's fees and $591.97 for costs). Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, plaintiffs' motion for default judgment is granted and judgment shall be entered in favor of plaintiffs and against defendant in the amount of $109,967.47, plus $24.95 in interest per day after April 16, 2010 through the date of judgment, plus $4,413.97 in attorney's fees and costs. DATED: 8/6/10 RONALD M. WHYTE United States District Judge ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT--No. C-09-3835 RMW TER 3

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