Riggs v. Hull et al

Filing 46

MEMORANDUM OPINION signed by Senior Judge Charles R. Simpson, III on 11/29/2017, re 44 FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND RECOMMENDATION by Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin concerning damages. cc: Counsel; Defendants, pro se (RLK)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY AT LOUISVILLE ALICIA RIGGS PLAINTIFF vs. CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:13CV-1230-CRS JOHN JEFF HALL, et al. DEFENDANTS MEMORANDUM OPINION This matter was referred to the United States Magistrate Judge for findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation concerning damages in this action. The complaint of the plaintiff, Alicia Riggs, sought compensatory and punitive damages from the defendants, Jeff and Becky Hull and JEFBEK, Inc. based on statutory claims for forced labor, involuntary servitude, and human trafficking. Riggs successfully pursued these claims on summary judgment. The defendants did not oppose Riggs’ damages evidence. The magistrate judge reviewed the evidence offered by Riggs and recommended that damages in the sum of $1,450.00 and attorney fees in the sum of $6,573.00 for a total award of $8,023.00. Riggs requested the sum of $1,450.00, representing the applicable minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for a total of 400 hours (25 eight-hour days of involuntary servitude). She expressly waives any additional amounts for compensatory or punitive damages. The magistrate judge found that Rigs’ calculation fell “squarely within the proper methodology set out in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.” The magistrate judge reduced the requested sum of $16,432.50 in attorney fees to $6,573.00, representing a 60% reduction in the amount claimed. He determined that an award of reasonable attorney fees should not include substantial time billed for one attorney’s review of another attorney’s work, and should reflect limited success by the plaintiff, in a tangible sense, as Riggs abandoned emotional distress, punitive, and additional compensatory damage claims. We note, again, that the defendants did not respond to the damages evidence, and there were no objections filed by any party to the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation. We conclude that the magistrate judge’s decision concerning damages is sound, and we will accept and adopt the magistrate judge’s report in its entirety. A separate order and judgment will be entered this date in accordance with this opinion. IT IS SO ORDERED. November 29, 2017 C al R Smpo I , ei J d e h r s . i sn I Sno u g e I r U i dSae Ds i C ut nt tt ir t o r e s tc 2

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