OWENS v. PERDUE FARMS INC
ORDER granting 96 Motion for Attorney Fees. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE TILMAN E. SELF, III on 11/18/2022. (ech)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
PERDUE FOODS LLC,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
THE VINCIT GROUP d/b/a QSI INC.,
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS’ FEES
Following entry of Judgment [Doc. 95] in its favor, Perdue Foods LLC filed a
Motion for Attorneys’ Fees [Doc. 96] on October 27, 2022. Local Rule 7.2 states that “[a]
party desiring to submit a response, brief, or affidavits shall serve the same within
twenty-one (21) days after service of [the] movant’s motion and brief.” LR 7.2, MDGa.
The 21-day period within which Plaintiff Hans Owens had to file a response to Perdure
Foods’ motion seeking attorneys’ fees expired on November 17, 2022. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
6(a). Owens did not file a response, nor did he timely seek an extension of time
pursuant to Local Rule 6.2. 1
Local Rule 6.2 provides:
In civil cases, the clerk of the court and his deputies are authorized to permit extensions of
time to a date certain not to exceed fourteen (14) days for the filing of briefs. No more than
one (1) such extension may be granted by the clerk for the same brief. Permission of the
court must be obtained for any additional extensions. A party requesting an additional
The parties completed discovery in this case on May 6, 2022, and in its motion,
Perdue Foods states that it served Owens with a statutory offer of settlement in
accordance with O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68 on April 26, 2022. [Doc. 77]; [Doc. 96, p. 1]; see, e.g.,
[Doc. 96-1]. Owens rejected the offer. See O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68(c) (“An offer that is neither
withdrawn nor accepted within 30 days shall be deemed rejected.); [Doc. 96, p. 1]. For
the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Perdue Foods’ Motion for Attorneys’ Fees
Motions for attorneys’ fees in cases, like this one, that are before the Court on the
basis of diversity jurisdiction are governed by state law. Green v. Big Lots, No. 5:17-cv00344-TES, 2019 WL 112774, at *1 (M.D. Ga. Jan. 4, 2019) (citation omitted); see also Am.
Fam. Life Assurance Co. of Columbus v. United States Fire Co., 885 F.2d 826, 832 (11th Cir.
1989) (“[A] federal court sitting in diversity should give effect to the forum state’s rule
regarding attorney’s fees.”). Accordingly, the Court considers whether Perdue Foods is
entitled to attorneys’ fees under Georgia law, which provides in relevant part:
If a defendant makes an offer of settlement which is rejected by the plaintiff,
the defendant shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and
expenses of litigation incurred by the defendant or on the defendant’s
behalf from the date of the rejection of the offer of settlement through the
entry of judgment if the final judgment is one of no liability or the final
judgment obtained by the plaintiff is less than 75 percent of such offer of
extension must do so by written motion filed no later than five (5) days before the
expiration of the extension granted by the clerk. The motion shall state why an additional
extension is needed.
LR 6.2, MDGa.
O.C.G.A. 9-11-68(b). In other words, if Perdue Foods can satisfy each of the
requirements discussed below from O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68(a), it is entitled to attorneys’ fees
from May 27, 2022, the date Owens is deemed to have rejected the offer of settlement,
through October 13, 2022, the date the Court granted summary judgment to Perdue
Foods and entered Judgment in its favor. O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68(c); [Doc. 94]; [Doc. 95]; see
also [Doc. 96-3, Winks Aff., ¶ 3];
To be entitled to attorneys’ fees under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68, Perdue Foods must
have made an offer of settlement more than 30 days after it was served with a summons
and complaint but not less than 30 days before trial. O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68(a). Perdue
Foods must have also
Made the offer in writing and stated in the offer that it was made in
accordance with O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68;
Identified the party making the offer and to whom the offer was made;
Identified the claim(s) to be resolved by the offer;
Stated any conditions of the offer with particularity;
Stated the total amount of the offer;
Stated with particularity the amount offered to settle any claims for
punitive damages, if any;
Stated whether the offer included its attorneys’ fees and expenses and
whether these fees and expenses were part of the legal claim; and
Included a certificate of service with the offer and served Owens by
certified mail or overnight delivery as required by O.C.G.A. § 9-11-5.
O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68(a)(1)–(8); see also O.C.G.A. § 9-11-5(b)
Upon review of Perdue Foods’s Offer of Settlement [Doc. 96-1], it clearly satisfied
each of the above statutory requirements. Further, upon review of the calculable
amounts listed in the Invoices [Doc. 96-2] that Perdue Foods submitted
contemporaneously with its motion as well as the additional, not-yet-invoiced amounts
listed in Tiffany Winks and Austin Atkinson’s affidavits, the Court is satisfied that their
billable rates and the number of hours billed are reasonable. [Doc. 96-3, Winks Aff., ¶ 8];
[Doc. 96-4, Atkinson Aff., ¶ 7].
Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Perdue Foods’ Motion for Attorneys’ Fees
[Doc. 96] in the amount of $24,438.00.
SO ORDERED, this 18th day of November, 2022.
S/ Tilman E. Self, III
TILMAN E. SELF, III, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?