EQUITY INDUSTRIAL PARTNERS CORP. v. 7900 ROCKVILLE, LLC et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 87 Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 5/12/2010. (CBU)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA INDIANAPOLIS DIVISION EQUITY INDUSTRIAL A-ROCKVILLE LLC, Plaintiff, vs. 7900 ROCKVILLE, LLC, et al., Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ORDER Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Equity Industrial A-Rockville LLC's ("Equity") Petition for Attorney's Fees. [Dkt. 87] It asks that the Court order Defendants 7900 Rockville, LLC, and Covington Capital Corporation (collectively "7900 Rockville") to pay Equity $3,225.00 (8.6 hours at $375 per hour) for its successful Motion to Compel, [dkt. 86]. Because the Court previously authorized fees, [id. at 6], determining the amount of a reasonable fee constitutes the only issue remaining here. 7900 Rockville raises two objections to the proposed fee, neither of which the Court sustains. First, it argues that because the Court didn't specifically award fees in connection with Equity's "Addendum to Pending Motion to Compel," [dkt. 47], Equity shouldn't be able to recover the 1.5 hours Equity's counsel spent on that item. As the Court indicated in its previous order, however, that addendum was erroneously filed as a motion, when in reality it was a supplemental brief, discussing new facts that had arisen since the motion to compel had been filed. [Dkt. 86 at 1 n.1.] The addendum forms part and parcel of the briefing on the underlying motion to compel, for which fees were specifically awarded. Second, 7900 Rockville complains generally that $3,225.00 is simply too high, contending instead that $1,000 should suffice. But because Equity's counsel's hourly rate is reasonable in the marketplace (evidenced in part by -1-
Equity's willingness to pay it) and because counsel didn't spend unreasonably long on the motion to compel, [dkt. 87-1], 7900 Rockville's arbitrary valuation of $1,000 cannot carry the day. See Pennsylvania v. Delaware Valley Citizens' Council for Clean Air, 478 U.S. 546, 565 (1986) ("A strong presumption that the lodestar figure--the product of reasonable hours times a reasonable rate--represents a `reasonable fee' is wholly consistent with the rationale behind the usual fee-shifting statute...."); Balcor Real Estate Holdings v. Walentas-Phoenix Corp., 73 F.3d 150, 153 (7th Cir. 1996) ("[T]he best guarantee of reasonableness is willingness to pay.....Having defaulted on its obligations...Walentas is in no position to complain that it induced Balcor to incur large legal costs...."). Nevertheless, the Court won't award the full $3,225 in fees. Equity's briefing contained hyperbole, inflammatory rhetoric, and attacks on opposing counsel. [See, e.g., dkt. 53 at 10 (accusing the response brief of containing a "blatant misrepresentation").] That acerbic style doesn't comport with the level of civility that should--and ordinarily does--prevail in this District. The Court will not encourage such inappropriate behavior by funding it via a fee award. The Court considers a 15% reduction in the fee request an appropriate deterrent here and will reduce Equity's fee award to $2,740.00. The Court therefore GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Equity's Petition for Attorney's Fees. [Dkt. 87.] 7900 Rockville must pay Equity $2,740.00 within fourteen days. 05/12/2010
_______________________________ Jane Magnus-Stinson United States Magistrate Judge Southern District of Indiana
Distribution via ECF only: Richard D. Gass DIONNE & GASS LLP email@example.com Robert Andrew Hicks HALL RENDER KILLIAN HEATH & LYMAN One American Square Suite 2000 Indianapolis, IN 46282 David Benjamin Honig HALL RENDER KILLIAN HEATH & LYMAN firstname.lastname@example.org Keith A. Kavinsky GALLAGHER & KAVINSKY, L.P.A. email@example.com
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