Eaton v. Broken Spoke Cycles, Inc.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES 15 , by Judge William J. Martinez on 9/10/2015.(dhans, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Judge William J. Martínez
Civil Action No. 14-cv-2898-WJM-KMT
BROKEN SPOKE CYCLES, INC.,
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS’ FEES
Plaintiff Sheena Eaton (“Plaintiff”) initiated this action on October 23, 2014,
bringing claims against Defendant Broken Spoke Cycles, Inc. (“Defendant”) for its
alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. (“TILA”) and the
Colorado Consumer Credit Code, C.R.S. § 5-1-101 et seq. (ECF No. 1.) On January
9, 2015, the Clerk of the Court entered default against Defendant. (ECF No. 10.) On
May 18, 2015, the Court granted in part Plaintiff’s Motion for Default Judgment, and
instructed Plaintiff to file her Motion for Attorneys’ Fees on or before May 29, 2015.
(ECF No. 13.) Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees (“Motion”) is now before the Court.
(ECF No. 15.) Defendant has not filed a response to the Motion. For the reasons set
forth below, the Motion is granted.
I. LEGAL STANDARD
To determine a reasonable attorneys’ fee, the Court must calculate a “lodestar
figure” by multiplying a reasonable hourly rate by the hours reasonably expended.
Praseuth v. Rubbermaid, Inc., 406 F.3d 1245, 1257 (10th Cir. 2005) (citing Case v.
Unified Sch. Dist. No. 233, 157 F.3d 1243, 1249 (10th Cir. 1998)). Counsel should
exercise “billing judgment” prior to submitting a fee request to eliminate any needless,
excessive, or redundant hours. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 434 (1983). Billing
judgment should also take into account the experience and relative skill of the billing
attorneys. Id. Additional factors to determine a fee’s reasonableness include “the
complexity of the case, the number of reasonable strategies pursued, . . . the
responses necessitated by the maneuvering of the other side,” any potential duplicative
services, and whether the hours would “normally be billed to a paying client.” Ramos v.
Lamm, 713 F.2d 546, 554 (10th Cir. 1983). A court m ay use its discretion to fashion an
award of attorneys’ fees it deems appropriate where counsel requests payment for
hours other than those reasonably expended. Id. at 554-55.
Plaintiff’s Entitlement to Attorneys’ Fees
In its Order Granting in Part Plaintiff’s Motion for Default Judgment, the Court
awarded Plaintiff damages under TILA due to Defendant’s violation of 15 U.S.C.
§ 1638(a)(5). (ECF No. 13 at 3-4.) Plaintiff now moves for attorneys’ fees under 15
U.S.C. § 1640(a)(3), which provides that “any creditor who fails to comply with any
requirement imposed under this part” is liable for “the costs of the action, together with
a reasonable attorney's fee as determined by the court.” The Court has already held
that Plaintiff sufficiently alleged that Defendant is a “creditor” as defined under TILA,
and that Defendant violated the statute. (ECF No. 13 at 3-4.) Thus, Plaintiff is entitled
to a reasonable award of attorneys’ fees. Stutzka v. McCarville, 243 F. App’x 195, 197
(8th Cir. 2007) (“an award of fees is mandatory once a TILA violation has been
established, with the amount of the fees being committed to the district court’s
The Reasonableness of the Fees Requested
Plaintiff requests fees for the work of two attorneys and two paralegals on this
matter, and submits the affidavit of Joseph Pavini in support thereof:
Attorney Joseph Pavini, Senior Associate
Attorney Russell Thompson, Managing Partner
Paralegals Tremain Davis and Christopher Bruner
(ECF No. 15 at 2.) Multiplying the billable hours together with the respective rates
yields a total of $4,045.00 in attorneys’ fees, which the Court finds excessive given that
Defendant never even appeared in this action. However, counsel exercised billing
judgment and only requests $3,500.00 in fees. (Id.) After reviewing the detailed billing
records supporting Plaintiff’s fees request, the Court finds that the hourly rates and time
expended on this matter are reasonable given counsel’s exercise of billing judgment.
The Court therefore awards Plaintiff $3,500.00 in attorneys’ fees.
For the foregoing reasons, it is ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorneys’
Fees (ECF No. 15) is GRANTED and Plaintiff is awarded $3,500.00 in attorneys’ fees.
Dated this 10th day of September, 2015.
BY THE COURT:
William J. Martínez
United States District Judge
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