Gillam et al v. Abreu et al
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order: For the reasons stated in the attached Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court grants Plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees and costs 73 . The Court awards Plaintiffs $54,152.61 in attorneys' fees and costs. Signed by the Honorable Thomas M. Durkin on 1/17/2023. Mailed notice. (ecw, )
Case: 1:18-cv-05988 Document #: 85 Filed: 01/17/23 Page 1 of 5 PageID #:1063
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
JOHN CLARK GILLAM AND DANIEL
No. 18 C 5988
Judge Thomas M. Durkin
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiffs John Clark Gillam and Daniel Freuman filed a motion for attorneys’
fees and costs . Defendant Rodrigo Abreu did not respond. For the following
reasons, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion and awards Plaintiffs $54,152.61 in
attorneys’ fees and costs.
Plaintiffs John Clark Gillam and Daniel Freuman brought this action against
Defendant Rodrigo Abreu, alleging that Defendant breached Custodian Agreements
pertaining to the management of Plaintiffs’ crypto asset investments and otherwise
defrauded Plaintiffs. On December 3, 2021, Plaintiffs filed a motion for entry of
default judgment against Defendant. R. 64. The Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion and
entered default judgment on February 25, 2022. R. 68, 69. The Court awarded
attorneys’ fees incurred through October 26, 2021 and post-judgment interest and
costs pursuant to Rule 54(d) and the Custodian Agreements, which state that
Defendant “shall indemnify [Plaintiffs] from and against any and all losses,
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liabilities, claims, damages, costs and expenses of every kind and character, including
reasonable attorneys’ expenses, resulting from or relating to or arising out of the
nonfulfillment or breach of any covenant or agreement made by [Defendant] in this
Agreement.” R. 73 at 2 (quoting R. 1-1).
Plaintiffs sought to file their motion for attorneys’ fees and costs on March 11,
2022 but were unable to do so due to a PACER system error. See R. 71. Plaintiffs
moved to file their motion for attorneys’ fees and costs instanter, which the Court
granted on March 16, 2022. See id.; R. 72. That day, Plaintiffs filed the present
motion, seeking attorneys’ fees and costs accrued after October 26, 2021 in the
amount of $69,641.54. R. 73. Plaintiffs stated that they accrued an additional
$62,097.50 in attorneys’ fees and $7,544.04 in costs in pursuit of default judgment
and the present motion. Id. at 4. Plaintiffs attached the bill of costs to their motion
but did not include any support for the stated amount in attorneys’ fees, offering
instead to provide copies of legal invoices under seal. Id. at 2, 4. Defendant did not
respond to Plaintiffs’ motion. Plaintiffs filed a reply. See R. 77.
The case was transferred to the undersigned on October 6, 2022. See R. 79. The
Court requested that Plaintiffs provide copies of legal invoices in support of their
request for attorneys’ fees under seal, which Plaintiffs filed on December 29, 2022.
See R. 81, 82, 83, 84. The amount in attorneys’ fees and costs reflected in the legal
invoices totaled $54,152.61. See R. 83-1.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) provides that the prevailing party should
be allowed to recover costs other than attorneys’ fees unless a statute, other rule, or
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the court provides otherwise. Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d). A district court reviewing a bill of
costs should keep in mind that “there is a presumption that the prevailing party will
recover costs, and the losing party bears the burden of an affirmative showing that
taxed costs are not appropriate.” Beamon v. Marshall & Ilsley Trust Co., 411 F.3d
854, 864 (7th Cir. 2005). A district court must ensure that the costs are recoverable
and reasonable. See Majeske v. City of Chicago, 218 F.3d 816, 824 (7th Cir. 2000).
Rule 54(d)(2) also provides that a claim for attorneys’ fees must be made by motion
filed no later than 14 days after the entry of judgment specifying the grounds entitling
the movant to the award and the amount sought. Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2).
Plaintiffs ask the Court to award $53,934.50 in attorneys’ fees and $218.11 in
Plaintiffs argue that they are entitled to attorneys’ fees pursuant to Rule
54(d)(2) and the Custodian Agreements. “Prevailing parties are not automatically
entitled to attorneys’ fees under Rule 54(d) but may file a motion requesting fees
pursuant to a contractual agreement” within 14 days of the entry of judgment. Riley
v. Argonaut Midwest Holdings, LLC, No. 06 C 5026, 2007 WL 2908824, at *1 (N.D.
Ill. Oct. 4, 2007) (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2)(A)-(C)). Here, Plaintiffs timely filed
their motion requesting attorneys’ fees. See R. 72. Further, the Custodian
Agreements state that Defendant must indemnify Plaintiffs from “costs and expenses
of every kind and character, including reasonable attorneys’ expenses, resulting from
or relating to or arising out of the nonfulfillment or breach of any covenant or
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agreement made by [Defendant] in this Agreement.” Plaintiffs argue that this
provision entitles them to attorneys’ fees that they have incurred since October 26,
2021 because the motion for entry of default judgment and the present motion for
attorneys’ fees and costs relate to Defendant’s breach. Though Defendant was
provided the opportunity to oppose this argument, he did not do so. Accordingly, the
Court finds that Plaintiffs are entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred since
October 26, 2021.
Plaintiffs state that they incurred $53,934.50 in attorneys’ fees in pursuit of
their motion for the entry of default judgment and the present motion. In support of
the stated amount, Plaintiffs provided legal invoices documenting the hours worked
and the work performed in connection with the motion for entry of default judgment
and the present motion. See R. 83. Defendant has not contested the stated amount.
The Court thus finds that the stated amount is reasonable. See Riley, 2007 WL
2908824, at *1-2 (awarding plaintiff the requested amount in attorneys’ fees where
defendant agreed to pay all reasonable attorneys’ fees, plaintiff supplied legal
invoices, and defendant did not contest plaintiff’s motion). Therefore, the Court
awards Plaintiffs attorneys’ fees in the amount of $53,934.50.
Plaintiffs further argue that they are entitled to $218.11 in costs pursuant to
Rule 54(d). That amount reflects “necessary” costs incurred for duplication, color
duplication, postage, and courier services. See R. 83. A prevailing party may recover
costs for copies of materials that were “necessarily obtained for use in the case.” 28
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U.S.C. § 1920. Additionally, the Seventh Circuit has construed section 1920 to include
amounts spent on postage and delivery charges. Tchemkou v. Mukasey, 517 F.3d 506,
512 (7th Cir. 2008); see also Perez v. Staples Cont. & Com. LLC, No. 16-CV-7481, 2021
WL 4034075, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 3, 2021) (overruling plaintiff’s objections to
defendant’s requests for copying and courier costs). Here too, Plaintiffs’ request is
supported by a bill of costs and legal invoices. See R. 73, 83. Because Defendant has
not objected to the requested costs as unrecoverable or unreasonable, the Court
awards Plaintiffs costs in the amount of $218.11.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for attorneys’
fees and costs. The Court awards Plaintiffs $54,152.61 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
Honorable Thomas M. Durkin
United States District Judge
Dated: January 17, 2023
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