Finch et al v. Owners Insurance Company et al
ORDER awarding Defendant $2,873.00 in attorney's fees and $532.99 in costs incurred for the depositions of Frank Parson and Stuart Gregory regarding 65 Order. Signed by Chief Judge J. Randal Hall on 02/04/2019. (jlh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
CARRIE FINCH, Individually and
as Executor of the Estate of
OWNERS INSURANCE COMPANY,
violated Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a) (2) (B)'s disclosure
requirements and missed the Court's deadline to disclose expert
65, at 7-11,
When a party fails to
properly disclose an expert witness report. Federal Rule of Civil
witness to supply evidence.
""In addition to or instead of this
expenses, including attorney's fees, caused by the failure."
R. Civ. p.
37(c) (1) (A) .
In this case,
the Court choose the latter path.
exclude the testimony of Frank Parson and Stuart Gregory, the Court
reopened discovery and allowed Defendant to depose both experts.
(Order of Dec. 6, 2017, at 9, 11.) The Court then allowed Defendant
to ^^submit an itemized list of the costs incurred, which will be
borne by Plaintiff," for the two depositions.
Seretha Howell, Ms. Murphy's paralegal, submitted affidavits with
an itemized list of the costs incurred in preparing for and taking
the depositions of Frank Parson and Stuart Gregory.
Doc. 69, SI 5; Howell Aff., Doc. 70, SI 5.)
Ms. Murphy billed 30.2
hours at a rate of $150.00 per hour and incurred $483.84 in mileage
(Murphy Aff., SI 5.)
rate of $65.00 per hour.
Ms. Howell billed 2.2 hours at a
(Howell Aff., SI 5.)
incurred $49.15 in copying costs.
Plaintiff makes two objections to the costs and fees claimed.
First, they argue the Court should not award attorney's fees for
Douglasville, Georgia to Statesboro, Georgia to take the two
decision to retain out-of-town counsel when there are qualified
attorneys in the Statesboro area should not be borne by Plaintiff.
The Court is inclined to agree.
See, e.g., Martin v. Augusta-
Richmond Cnty., Ga., Comm'n, 2012 WL 5950408, at *7 n.4 (S.D. Ga.
Nov. 28, 2012) (reducing attorney's fees award for counsel's travel
time from Atlanta to Augusta where there was no evidence that the
plaintiff ''could not have hired competent local counsel"); Kearney
V. Auto-Owners Ins. Co., 713 F. Supp. 2d 1369, 1379 (M.D. Fla.
Accordingly, the Court will subtract six hours of
round-trip travel^ from Ms.
Murphy's fees for attending
depositions of Mr. Parson and Mr. Gregory.
Second, Plaintiff contends she should not be required to pay
for the hours billed preparing for and conducting Mr. Gregory's
In her view, these costs represent a windfall for
deposition before the end of discovery and it was Defendant's
decision to not depose him.
Plaintiff forgets, however, that part
of the reason Defendant chose to not depose Mr. Gregory during
discovery was because Plaintiff failed to timely disclose his
expert witness report. Defendant reasonably believed that a motion
to exclude Mr. Gregory would succeed based on Plaintiff's failure
to comply with Rule 26 and the Court's deadlines.
the Court will not reduce the fees for preparing and conducting
Mr. Gregory's deposition.
In sum, after subtracting the fees for Ms. Murphy's travel
time, the Court awards Defendant $2,873.00 in attorney's fees and
$532.99 in costs incurred for the depositions of Frank Parson and
1 Six hours represents the approximate round-trip travel time between defense
counsel's office in Douglasville and Statesboro where the depositions were held.
J. RAN^D^^HALL, CHIEF JUDGE
UNITED^TATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUXHE^ DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
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