Mrs. Condies Salad Company, Inc. v. Colorado Blue Ribbon Foods, LLC et al
ORDER granting 31 Plaintiff's Motion for the Entry of a Monetary Judgment for Attorneys' Fees and Costs Against Defaulted Defendant. Plaintiff is awarded costs and fees in the amount of $5,358.00, and that default judgment shall enter in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant Colorado Blue Ribbon Foods, LLC in that amount. By Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix on 4/24/12.(mnfsl, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 11-cv-02118-KLM
MRS. CONDIES SALAD COMPANY, INC.,
COLORADO BLUE RIBBON FOODS, LLC, and
WILLIAM R. MCKNIGHT,
ENTERED BY MAGISTRATE JUDGE KRISTEN L. MIX
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for the Entry of a Monetary
Judgment for Attorneys’ Fees and Costs Against Defaulted Defendant [Docket No. 31;
Filed March 20, 2012] (the “Motion”). The history of this matter was set forth in the Court’s
March 13, 2012 Order [#30] and is not reproduced here. In that Order, the Court granted
Plaintiff’s Motion for Entry of a Default Judgment Against Defendant Colorado Blue Ribbon
Foods, LLC (“Blue Ribbon”). The Court also denied without prejudice Plaintiff’s request for
attorney’s fees and costs, in part for failure to comply with D.C.COLO.LCivR 54.3. See
Order [#30] at 11-12. Plaintiff subsequently filed the Motion seeking these fees and costs.
No timely Response has been filed. Having considered the Motion, the Court awards
Plaintiff attorney’s fees as set forth below.
As discussed in the previous Order [#30], pursuant to 7 U.S.C. § 499g(b), Plaintiff
may be awarded costs and attorney’s fees: “[T]he petitioner shall not be liable for costs in
the district court . . . . If the petitioner finally prevails, he shall be allowed a reasonable
attorney’s fee, to be taxed and collected as part of the costs of the suit.” As Plaintiff has
prevailed in its suit against Defendant Blue Ribbon, Plaintiff is therefore entitled to costs
and a reasonable attorney’s fee. See Order [#30] at 10; 7 U.S.C. § 499g(b).
Pursuant to D.C.COLO.LCivR 54.3B., a party seeking an award of expenses must
provide “a detailed description of the services rendered, the amount of time spent, the
hourly rate, and the total amount claimed; and a summary of the relevant qualifications and
experience.” Plaintiff submitted an Affidavit authored by Attorney Peter B. Nagel (“Nagel”),
which includes an itemized list of fees incurred, the hourly rates charged by counsel, his
experience, and costs expended. See Ex. A, Aff. of Nagel [#31-1]. As per the Affidavit,
Plaintiff incurred attorney’s fees in the amount of $4,875.00 and costs of $483.001 in
connection with Defendant Blue Ribbon in this action.2 The Court finds that Plaintiff has
satisfied the requirements of Local Rule 54.3B.
Turning to the reasonableness of Attorney Nagel’s hourly rate, the party seeking
attorney’s fees bears the burden of producing “satisfactory evidence . . . that the requested
rates are in line 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). Concerning Attorney Nagel’s relevant qualifications and experience, he
The costs associated with the matter include a $350.00 filing fee and $153.00 for service
of process on Defendant Blue Ribbon. See Ex. A, Aff. of Nagel [#31-1] at 2, 8.
Plaintiff does not seek reimbursement for attorney’s fees expended solely in connection
with Defendant William R. McKnight, against whom this action still proceeds. See Ex. A, Aff. of
Nagel [#31-1] at 2.
I have been engaged in the practice of law and have been admitted to
practice in this Court, in both cases since 1978. While litigation is not the
primary focus of my practice, I have, in the course of my career, handled
dozens of matters in state trial and appellate courts in the State of Colorado,
have held an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell for over 25 years, and am
currently listed in both Best Lawyers in America and Colorado Superlawyers.
Ex. A, Aff. of Nagel [#31-1] at 2. In this case, Attorney Nagel seeks fees at an hourly rate
of $325.00. See id. He avers that this amount is “well within the prevailing market rate
within the Denver legal community for lawyers with a similar degree of experience and
qualification.” Id. (citing Shrader v. Beann, No. 10-cv-01881-REB-MLW, 2012 WL 527480,
at *3 (D. Colo. Feb. 12, 2012) (finding that an hourly rate of $425 for senior attorneys in the
Denver area is reasonable); Broker’s Choice of Am., Inc. v. NBC Universal, Inc., No. 09-cv00717-CMA-BNB, 2011 WL 3568165, at *8-9 (D. Colo. Aug. 15, 2011) (same)). The Court
finds that the hourly rate of $325.00 is reasonable for this jurisdiction for counsel with
Attorney Nagel’s experience and qualification.
A party seeking an award of attorney’s fees must demonstrate that the expenses it
seeks are reasonable. See Dewey v. Hewlett Packard Co., No. 05–cv–01482–REB–MJW,
2007 WL 707462, at *1 (D. Colo. Mar. 5, 2007). Therefore, counsel must make a good
faith effort to exclude hours or costs that are “excessive, redundant or otherwise
unnecessary.” Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 434 (1983). Generally, the starting
point for any calculation of a reasonable attorney’s fee is the “lodestar,” that is, the number
of hours reasonably expended multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate. Hensley, 461 U.S.
at 433; Malloy v. Monahan, 73 F.3d 1012, 1017–18 (10th Cir. 1996). The Court is not
required to reach a lodestar determination in every instance, however, and may simply
accept or reduce a fee request within its discretion. Hensley, 461 U.S. at 436–37.
As noted, Plaintiff is the prevailing party with respect to Defendant Blue Ribbon and,
therefore, is entitled to be compensated. See Order [#30] at 10; 7 U.S.C. § 499g(b). The
Court exercises its “discretion in making this equitable judgment” and does not “apportion
the fee award mechanically” by considering each claimed expense and determining its
reasonableness overall. Hensley, 461 U.S. at 436–40 (holding that the Court “should make
clear that it has considered the relationship between the amount of the fee awarded and
the results obtained”); see also White v. GMC, Inc., 908 F.2d 675, 684–85 (10th Cir. 1990)
(noting that the amount of fees accumulated to secure the desired result must be
reasonably related to the type and significance of issue in dispute). Based on the
undersigned’s twenty-seven years of combined private and judicial experience and careful
consideration of Attorney Nagel’s Affidavit and the issues underlying this matter, the Court
finds that Attorney Nagel’s claimed fees are reasonable here. See, e.g., Onesource
Commercial Prop. Servs., Inc. v. City & Cnty. of Denver, No. 10-cv-02273-WJM-KLM, 2011
WL 3583398, at *2 (D. Colo. Aug. 12, 2011).
Thus, the Court finds that: (1) Attorney Nagel's hourly compensation of $325.00 is
reasonable; (2) the hours of attorney time noted by him are reasonable; and (3) the
expenses incurred by Plaintiff are reasonable. Accordingly, the Court concludes that
Plaintiff is entitled to an award of $4,875.00 in attorney’s fees and $483.00 in costs it
incurred as a result of its lawsuit against Defendant Blue Ribbon. Accordingly,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion [#31] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff is awarded costs and fees in the amount
of $5,358.00, and that default judgment shall enter in favor of Plaintiff and against
Defendant Colorado Blue Ribbon Foods, LLC in that amount.
Dated: April 24, 2012
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