STINNETT v. EOS CCA et al
ORDER granting Plaintiff's 60 Motion for Leave to Cite Additional Authority, granting in part Plaintiff's 56 Motion for Assessment of Attorney Fees and granting Plaintiff's 61 Supplemental Motion for Assessment of Attorney Fees. Signed by Judge Richard L. Young on 4/14/2017. (TMD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
EOS CCA and U.S. ASSET
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTIONS FOR ASSESSMENT
OF ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND COSTS and MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO CITE ADDITIONAL AUTHORITY
Plaintiff, Anthony Stinnett, brought this action against Defendants, EOS CCA and
U.S. Asset Management, Inc., pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15
U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. The parties reached a settlement on November 2, 2016. The
settlement agreement provides that Plaintiff is entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs, and
the court will determine a reasonable amount to award.
“A request for attorney’s fees should not result in a second major litigation,”
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 437 (1983), but the parties vigorously dispute how
much should be awarded in this case. As the Supreme Court recently emphasized, “trial
courts need not, and indeed should not, become green-eyeshade accountants. The
essential goal in shifting fees (to either party) is to do rough justice, not to achieve
auditing perfection.” Fox v. Vice, 563 U.S. 826, 838 (2011). With this guidance in mind,
the court briefly addresses the parties’ arguments.
Plaintiff moves for an award of $11,927.50 in attorneys’ fees and $609.00 in costs.
Defendants object to the request for fees, advancing four primary arguments: (1) the
hourly rates requested are unreasonable, (2) time spent on duplicative or unnecessary
tasks is not recoverable, (3) time spent on boilerplate forms should be reduced, and (4)
time spent on purely administrative tasks is not recoverable. After Plaintiff submitted his
motion, this court ruled on fee petitions in two nearly identical cases. See Reynolds v.
EOS CCA, No. 1:14-cv-01868-JMS-DML, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161706 (S.D. Ind.
Nov. 22, 2016); Reed v. EOS CCA, No. 1:14-cv-01745-JMS-DKL, 2016 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 161709 (S.D. Ind. Nov. 22, 2016). 1 Reynolds and Reed involved the same
Defendants and counsel for both sides as this case. In those cases, this court considered
the same four arguments set forth above and only found the first to be meritorious,
holding the hourly rates should be slightly reduced. 2 For purposes of this motion,
Plaintiff does not object to those reduced rates.
The court finds no principled reason to depart from the thorough, practical
decisions in Reynolds and Reed, with one exception. After the court entered summary
judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in Reynolds and Reed, Plaintiff’s attorneys researched
the doctrine of offensive collateral estoppel in order to determine if it could be used in a
dispositive motion in this case. Whereas no dispositive motion was ever drafted or filed,
Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Cite Additional Authority (Filing No. 60) is GRANTED.
Plaintiff had three time keepers working on his case: John Steinkamp (who bills at $300/hour),
Michael Eades (who bills at $200/hour), and an unnamed paralegal (who bills at $125/hour).
The plaintiffs in Reynolds and Reed had the same three time keepers. In those cases, the court
reduced the three hourly rates to $275, $175, and $100, respectively.
Defendants maintain that this research was unnecessary. The court agrees; these fees
should not be shifted to Defendants. The nearly $1,000 billed in connection with
researching this doctrine shall be excluded.
Therefore, Plaintiff’s Motion for Assessment of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs (Filing
No. 56) is GRANTED IN PART. The court cannot readily calculate the fee award with
the reduced rates because the statement provided by Plaintiff does not include the total
number of hours logged by each time keeper. Accordingly, Plaintiff is ORDERED to
file a new itemized invoice that (a) reflects the reduced hourly rates and (b) indicates that
there is no charge for the collateral estoppel research, within fourteen days of the date of
this Order. Plaintiff’s request for costs goes unchallenged, and is therefore approved.
Plaintiff also moves to recover the attorneys’ fees incurred litigating this motion.
Specifically, he seeks $3,007.50. This amount reflects the reduced hourly rates discussed
above. Noting no objection from Defendants, Plaintiff’s Supplemental Motion for
Assessment of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs (Filing No. 61) is GRANTED.
Once Plaintiff has filed his amended invoice, the parties should be able to easily
add the three sums (the updated amount for attorneys’ fees, $3,007.50 for supplemental
attorneys’ fees, and $609.00 for costs) together for one grand total. Defendants are
ORDERED to remit that grand total to Plaintiff within fourteen days of him filing the
amended invoice. No further Order shall issue.
SO ORDERED this 14th day of April 2017.
Distributed Electronically to Registered Counsel of Record.
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