Garza et al v. Mitchell Rubenstein & Associates, P.C.

Filing 25

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 12/27/2016. (aos, Deputy Clerk)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND Southern Dh'ision CIIIUSTOPHER GARZA et aI., .1 T T' , * Plaiutiffs, * v. Case No.: G.JII-I5-I572 * MITCIIELL RUBENSTEIN ASSOCIATES,I'.C .• 8< * Defendant. * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM "Plaintiffs") Motion I(Jr Attorneys' Loe. R. IOS.6 (D. Md. 2(16). Attorneys' Garza and George Easton Jr:s & Associates. Practice Act ("FDCI'A"), necessary. * Fees. ECF No. 17. arising out of their successful class action lawsuit against Mitehcll Rubenstein of the Fair Debt Collection * * OPINION Presently pending bel()re the Court is Christopher (together. * * ISlJ.S.C. P.e. C'Defendant") ~ 1692 cl SCIf. No hearing is Fees is granted. I. For the f()llowing reasons, Plaintiffs' t(Jr violations Motion for BACKGROUND This case began as a class action lawsuit against Defendant the Fair Debt Collection how consumers ~ I692g(a)(4) by f(tiling to provide proper disclosures could verify and dispute the legitimacy April f f. 2016. Plaintiffs settlement Practice Act ("FDCPA") tor violating of the debts they owed. ECF NO.1. On tiled a Consent Motion for Settlement. ECF No. 16. Following hearing on April 2S, 2016. the Court entered an Order of Final Approval Action Settlement. ECF No. 22. The settlement lor agreement incloded, a of Class in relevant part. that of Dell:ndant would pay the two named Plaintiffs. Garza and Easton. $1.000.00 each. and that it \\'ould create a common fund in the amount of $12,425.00 to be distributed on a pro rata basis to each of the 884 class members. Id at 3.1 In addition. as highlighted in Plaintiffs' Consent Motion fiJI'Settlement. Defendant agreed to change the language in its debt collection letters going lorward. to address Plaintiffs' concerns. ECI' Contemporaneously o. 16 at'4. with their Consent Motion fiJI'Settlement. Plaintiffs also moved till' an award of attorneys' fees and costs. ECF No. 17. In their motion. Plaintill's noted that. pursuant to the settlement agreement. Delendant would not oppose the lirst $20.000.00 in requested Ices and expenses. and that Plaintiffs would not seck more than $35.000.00 in Ices and expenses. Id at 3. Reflecting this agreement. Plaintiffs requested $35.000.00 in attorneys' Ices and expenses. based on 87.5 hours of work completed by lilliI' attorneys li'om the law linn of Greenwald. Davidson RadbilPLCC. ("GDR"): 11.7 hours completed by local counsel: and an estimated $1.234.53 in litigation related costs. ECF No. 17- 1. Defendant submitted a Response to Plaintilrs Motion on April 25. 20J6. amended on April 26. 20J6. arguing that the Court should award Plaintiff only $20.000.00 in Ices and expenses. ECF No. 23. Plaintiffs tiled a Reply in support of their Motion on May J2.20 I6. reiterating their request lilf $35.000.00 in fees and expenses. ECI' No. 24. They noted that GDR attorneys had dedicated an additional 32.2 hours on the case. bringing the toWI compensable hours to 131.4 hours. and submitted a tin'll bill of expenses totaling $1.166.52. a slight downward departure li'om their previous estimate. lOCI'No. 24 at I: lOCI'No. 24-1 at 14. I Pin cites to documents liIcd 011 the Court"s electronic filing system (CM/ECF) that system. 2 refer to page numbers generated by STANDAIW OF REVIEW II. While thc paymcnt ofattorncys' claims is mandatory. 15 U.S.c. * fecs and costs to plaintiffs who prcvail on [,DCPA 1692k(a)(3) ... thc statutc makcs clear that calculation award must bc len to thc district court'" Carroll, .. l/'olpo(T& Ahralllsoll. 53 F.3d appropriate 626. 62S (4th Cir. 1995). To rccovcr attorncy's party". a thrcshold qucstion fecs and costs. a plaintilrmust fiJI' which thc Court accords a "gcncrous Eckrr!lar/. 461 U.S. 424. 433 (19S3). A plaintiff is a '.prcvailing attorncy's fccs if the plaintiffsuccccds '.on any signilicant be a "prcvailing formulation". thc partics' .'prcvailing scttlemcnt agrecmcnt. party'. cntitlcd to attorney's :Z:ZSS.2013 WL 38S991. at *I /lclIslcy p, party'. for the purpose of issuc in litigation which achievcs bcnelit thc partics sought in bringing suit'" Jd Plaintiffs hcrc obtaincd somc ofthc following ofthc which was aflirmcd paymcnt by this Court. and is thcrcforc a fccs. See Nelsoll \', ,1&11M%rs. (D. Md . .Ian. 30. 2013). This contcntion IIIC,.Civil No . .IKS 12- is not disputcd by thc partics. Thc most uscful starting point 1111" cstablishing .'Iodcstar'" or ..thc number of hours rcasonably the proper amount of an award is thc cxpcnded. multiplied by a rcasonablc hourly ratc'" Hcmley \., Ecker/wr/. 461 U.S. 424. 433 (19S3): see also RUlli ("reek Coal Sales. Ille. \., Caper/oil. 3 I F.3d 169. 174 (4th Cir. 1994). Thc court must adjust thc numbcr of hours to dcletc duplicativc or unrclatcd hours. and thc number of hours must be reasonable product of"billingjudgment..' plaintilTprcvails downward: but where full rclicfis on only some ofthc obtained. fcc and in cascs of cxccptional (intcrnal citations omittcd). the Caper/oil. 31 F.3d, at 175 (citing /lellsley. 461 U.S. at 437). "Whcnthc compcnsatory and rcprcscnt In asscssing claims. thc numbcr of hours may bc adjusted the plaintiffs attorney should rcceivc a fully success. cvcn an cnhancement..' thc ovcrall rcasonablencss , .' Jd at 174-75 of the lodestar. thc court may also consider the twelve factors set Ic)rth in./o!lllsoll 714. 717-19 (5th Cir. J 974) ("the Johnson P. Georgia Iligllll'llY Erpress. IlIc .. 488 F.2d ftletors"). speeilically: (I) The time and labor required; (2) The novelty and difticulty of the questions raised: (3) The skill requisite to pericH'll] the legal services properly: (4) The preclusion of employment by the altorney due to acceptance of the case: (5) The customary fee: (6) Whether the fee is lixed or contingent: (7) Time limitations imposed by the client or the circumstances: (8) The amount involved and the results obtained: (9) The experience. reputation. and ability of the attorneys: (10) The undesirability of the case: (11) The nature and length of the prolessional relationship between the altorney and the client: and (12) Altorney's Icc awards in similar eases. See Cap<'I'lolI. 31 FJd at 175. These ftlctorS. however. caleulation I'. ofhoLIrs reasonably expended "usually are subsumed at a reasonable II <I.'-I' Capilal. IlIc .. 513 F. App'x 282. 283-84 Furthermore. hourly rate I. i.e.. the lodestari." in original). court is to consider all twelve Itlctors. but need not robotically 3239117. III. at *2 (E.D.N.C. ,,' i In considering the Johnson/Barber at factors. the list each factor or comment LLC \'.AlllrolDapis. No. 7:10-CV-17-D. on 2010 WI. Aug. 16.2(10). IHSCllSSION A. Rcasonablc In determining whether "the requested Ratc whether counsel's hourly rates are reasonable. rates are in line with those prevailing services by lawyers of reasonably comparable critical inquiry in setting the reasonable the rcasonableness 1990)(citation omitted). the court must consider in the community skill. experience. Slel1.I'1J11. U.S. 886. 890 n.11 (1984). "ID]etermination 465 establish Ralldle (4th Cir. 2013 )(quoting Hen,ley. 461 U.S. 434 n. 9)(alteration those factors that do not apply," J)odeka. within the initial and reputation" Ic)r similar IJII/III of the hourly rate will gcnerally Ice. and the burden rests with the Icc applicant ofa requested rate," 1'1.1'/<'1' \'. 1:'1'(/11.902 be thc to F.2d 273. 277 (4th Cir. As part of its inquiry. the court may rely on "aflidavits 4 I'. from other altorneys attesting to the reasonableness of the hourly rates:' and also the court's "knowlcdge of the markel." Beyolld .'>vs. ll1c. v. World A "e. USA. LLC'. No. I'JM-08-92I. 20 II WL 3419565 at . *3 (D. Md. Aug. 11.2011). In this Districl. the Court's "market knowledge" is set fi)rth in Appendix B of the U.S. District Coun of Maryland Local Rules. which provides Guidelines Regarding Hourly Rates based upon length of professional experience. as follows: (a) I.awyers admitted to the bar for less than five (5) years: $150')1--). (b) Lawyers admitted to the bar li)r five (5) to eight (8) years: $165-300. (c) Lawyers admitted to the bar for nine (9) to founeen (14) years: $225-350. (d) Lawyers admitted to the bar li)r lineen (15) to nineteen (19) years: $275-425. (e) Lawyers admitted to the bar lilr twenty (20) years or more: $300-475. (I) Paralegals and lawelerks: $95-150. Loc. R. App. H(3) (0. Md. 2016).l'laintiffs ask the Coun to award altortley's fees at the lollowing hourly rates: Jesse S. Johnson: $350.00 (over six years of experience): Michael L. Greenwood: $400.00 (over II years of experience): .lames L. Davidson: $400.00 (over 12 years of experience): Aaron D. Radbil: $400.00 (9 years of experience) and Eric Stravitz $250.00 (experience and length of bar membership not listed). ECF No. 17 at 6-7: Eel' No. 17-1 at'I'120 -21. Defendant argues that the rates lor Johnson. the lead altorney on the case. should be adjusted downward. to $275.00 per hour. in accordance with what the local rules would suggest is reasonable lor an attorney with six years of experience. ECF No. 23 at 2. Johnson acknowledges that his rate is higher than the local guidelines would recommend. but argues that it isjustilied because Plaintiffs were successlili. the guidelines are not binding. similar rates were recently approved by this Court in other cases. and Johnson's specilic rate was approved in a 5 recent class action case in the Northern District of California. Fourth Circuit has emphasized. ECF No. 24 at 10-11. As the "market rate should guide the ICe inquiry'" C;ril.11I1II \'. The Mills Corp .. 549 F.3d 313. 321 (4th Cir. 2008). A close look at the eases within this circuit on which Plaintiffs rcly ShOll'S that they do not support his request ftJr an upward deviation from the local guidclines. The S350.00 hourly rate that Plaintiffs asserts Judge Garbis awarded in Slilllllock r. Weis Morkels. was actually subsumed within a lower blended rate 01'$289.00 per hour. Slilllllock \'. Weis,\forkels. loc .. No. CIV.A. MJG-7-1342. il/cf)ooiels I'. in attorney's ECF No. 128-1 at II. Furthermore. Weslloke Ser\'s..while Judge Ilollander fees was reasonable. did lind that an award 01'$350.00 per hour departing slightly above the guidelines in effect at that time. the lawyer in question had 10 years of experience. CIV.A. ELI 1-1 1-1837. 2014 WI. 556288, at ,\fcDooiels * 14 (0. Md. that an hourly rate of $275 rather than $350 is reasonable attorncy with Johnson's Weslloke Sen's .. U.c. No. Feb. 7. 2014). Thus. the Court tinds bascdon the local market rate lor an Davidson and Radbil. Defendant does not dispute their rates but argues that their hours should be disallowcd proposition I'. skill and expericnee. Turning next to attorneys Greenwood. an appearance in in lilll as they did not lonnally enter in the casc. ECF No. 23 at 4. DcICndant does not provide a citation lor this and the Court linds no support Illr it in the case law. As PlaintifTnotes. Circuit recently held that attorney's fees "includes authorization I<'lrreimbursement perf<.mned not only by attorneys but also by persons doing .tasks traditionally attorney and 1<.Ji' which the attorney would customarily charge the client: the Fourth lor work perl<.mned by an regardless oflvhether licensed attorney. paralegal. or law clerk perl<.mned thcm'" Prieslley \'. Aslme. 651 FJd 410. 416 (4th Cir. 2011)(quoting 1(\'(/11 district court's denial of attorncys' r. 80mhorl. 315 F.3d 239. 255 (4th Cir.2002))(rcversing fees 1<.Ji' Ilmk completed 6 by out-ol~state attorncys undcr the a Equal Access to Justice Act). II"the legal work 01" a person unable to enter an appearance such as a paralegal documented the hours 01" Greenwood. Davidson Plaintiffs so must thc work 01" a liccnsed allorney. or law clerk. is compensable. as their work is properly in court. and not Il)tllld to be duplicative. as long Thus. the Court !inds that and Radbil arc eligible Il)r reimbursement. argue that because Defendant did not contest the hourly rates of Greenwood. D<J\'idson and Radbil. the Court must approve them. noting that "Iljhe district court cannot decrease a Ice award based on laetors not raised at all by the adverse party'" Rode \'. /)el/arcipre/e. 892 F.2d 1177. 1183 (3d Cir. I(90)(internal citation omilled).2 ignores the lact that ..the burden rests with the Ice applicant requested to establish rate'" 1)~l'!('J" ,', 1"\"(111.902 F.2d 273. 277 (4th Cir. I (90)(eiting U.S. 886. 895-96 n. II. (19S4)). In support of their requested However this the reasonableness IJIUIIl of a ". S/e/1Son. 465 Icc. Plaintiffs again acknowledge that a rate of $400.00 per hour is higher than the $225 - $350 per hour range that the local guidelines would suggest. but argue that an upward deviation were approved in other jurisdictions. than the lodestar accumulated 3:09CV60S. the guidelines by counselJ 2010 WI. 2944907, is justi!ied because similar rates are not binding and the fee request is lower ECF N(). 17 at 7-S. Randle \'. H&1' ("api/al. Inc .. No. . at *S (E.D. Va. Julv 21. 2010). on which Plaintiffs relv to . support a local market rate of between $425 and $450 per hour. docs not provide any I~lets regarding the years 01" experience of the allorneys rates. Taking into account the experience rate as outlined in question 01" Greenwood. in the Local Rules and their specialized that led the court to approve such Davidson and Radbil. the local market expertise. as evidenced Irom the !Thc logic in the Third Circuit case 011 which Plaintiffs rely focuseson whether or not the fec applicant had sufficient notice. Node \', Dellon:ipre1<!. 892 F.ld 1 177. I 188-89 (3d Cif. I 990W'Thc fec applicant retains the need to be notified that it has to defend its fce request and the adversarial nature of the process is as strong post-lodestar as prc-Iodestar.") 'As discussed. ill/I'll. Plaintiffs voluntarily reduced their hours by approximately 10 hours of billa hie lime. in an effort to eliminate any work thai could be considered duplicative. ECF No. 24 at 4. 7 multitudc of class actions thcy havc becn a part of: thc Court find that an award of $350 pcr hour. at thc high cnd of thc guidelincs. is rcasonablc. Finally. Plaintiffs rcqucst attorncy's fces at a ratc 01'$250 pcr hour on bchalfoflocal liaison counscl. Eric Stravtil.. Plaintiffs havc put forward no information cxpcricncc or length of bar membership. Ilowcvcr. evcn calculating rcgarding Stravtiz's Stravitz's tccs at thc lowcst pCrJnissiblc ratc of $150 per hour. thc lodcstar total amounts to morc than thc $35.000 rcqucstcd by Plaintiffs. B. Reasonahle Hours As rcquired by Appendix application accompanied B ofthc Local Rulcs. counscl for Plaintiffs submitted thcir fee by time rccords organizcd by litigation phasc. rcqucsting compensation for 104.3 hours of work by Johnson: a combincd 15.4 hours of work by Grccnwald. Davidson and Radbil and 11.7 hours by Stravtiz. ECF No. 24-1 at 3.5 Plainiiffs notc that this numbcr rel1ects a voluntary rcduction of approximatcly 10 hours of billable timc. in an cffort to eliminate any work that could bc considcrcd ECF No. 24 at 4. Dcfcndant argucs that thc Court duplicativc. should apply a 35% across thc board reduction for the time Plaintiffs dedicated to pleadings and motions practicc bascd on an "asscmbly Spccifically. linc" production of said filings. ECF No. 23 at 5. 7. DctCndant points thc Court towards complaints othcr FDCP A class actions lawsuits commcnced 5. DctCndant argues that Plaintilfs' and motions tiled in support of live within weeks or months of thc instant casc. Id at filings arc identical or substantially similar to thc complaint and motions liled in thosc cascs. Id" Plaintiffs arguc that their cxpcricncc in similar lawsuits gcncratcd syncrgics that allO\\"Cd thcm to drali matcrials morc rapidly than thcy othcrwisc could. , As a result. rather than requiring Plaintiffs to provide:l supplement. the Court. in making its calculations. will calculate Stravitz's rate at S 150 per hour. ~\Vhile Plainitrrs initially failed 10 organize Mr. Stravtiz's billing records by litigation phase. this omission was corrected ill an updated version orthc records submitted 10 the COllrt. ECF No. 24-[ I'Defendant includes copies of the filings in said cases as exhibits to EeF No. 13. at 11-13. noting that they spent only approximately 4 hours draning and reviewing the complaint7 and 10.4 hours draning and reviewing the relevant motions. ECF No. 24 at 7-8: see a/so ECF No. 17I at 21-23. Comparing the Complaint Iiled in this case to the complaint in Be//ulII \'. o(Frec/C'ric!. .' !.(/\!" OffiCC's . WC'inhC'rt:& A.I'.I'ociale.l'. P.c.. 15-cv-2460. one of the cases referenced bv the Defendant. the Court found the documents to be almost identical with the exception of brief language addressing the relevant facts of each case. ECF No. 23-1 at 1-16. Therefore. the Court will impose a 33%, reduction Illr the time spent by .Johnson. the lead counsel. draning the pleadings of the case. reducing .Johnson's time 1i'0I11 3.1 hours to 2.1 hours. See Archho/d \'. 7i'i.l1ale ATM. /nc .. No. II CV 5796 S.J LB. 2012 WI. 3887167. at *8 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 7. 2012 )("Because preparing the pleadings and other filings submitted in connection with these lawsuits involves little more than inserting the plaintifl~specilic allegations into a ready-made template ... the time expended on these tasks should be minimaL") J lo\\.ever. reviewing the two major filings in the case - the Motions Il)r Preliminary and Final Approval of Class Action Settlement - the Court notes that while the motions submitted in this case do share language with motions submitted in other cases. see e.g ECF No. 23-2. Plaintiffs also spend considerable amount of time citing to applicable Fourth Circuit precedent not relevant to earlier submissions. Thus. the Court linds that Plaintiffs dedicated a reasonable amount of time to researching and draliing the motions and will not reduce the amount of time requested lor mot ions practice. Delendant also argues that the fees Illr Stravtiz should be disallowed in full as the billing records are repetitive and non-descriptive. including such entries as "reviewed court notice:' ECF No. 23 at 4. While the Court agrees that Stravtiz could have been more detailed in his 7 Specifically. Johnson. the lead attorney. spellt 3.1 hours dral1ing the Complaint and Davidson spent 1.2 hours reviewing and revising the Complaint. Eel" No. 24 at 7. record-keeping. the descriptions arc adequate. In addition. the amount of time Stravitz dedicated to such routine tasks as "revicw cOUJ1 notice" was a mere .1 hours per time cntry. Thus. the Court tinds that Stravtiz's request Ill[ 11.7 ofcompensablc timc is rcasonable IlJr his work as liaison counsel. C. Calculation of Lodesta,' Ilaying dctermined the reasonable rate and reasonable hours expended. the Court will now caleulate the lodestar. Johnson. the lead attorney. dedicated 100 hours to this case. which at a rate of $275.00 per hour. justifies an award of $27.500.00.x In addition. Johnson spent 3.3 hours in transit to the linal settlement hearing. which. per our local rules may be compensated at onehalfofthe lawyer's hourly rate9Therefore. the record supports a total award of$27.953.75 for Johnson. 10Greenwald. Davidson and Radbil together spent a total of 15.4 hours on this case. which. at a rate of $350.00 per hour. justi tics an award of $5.390.00.11 Finally. Stravitz billcd 11.7 hours. which the Court will compensate at a rate of $150.00 per hour for a total of $1. 755.00.1~ Therefore. the record justities a total award of$35.098.75 D. Adjustmcnt to Lodestar: Plaintiffs also argue that the jolll/soll .Iol1l1sol1 in attorney's fees. 13 factors and Plaintiffs Lenl of SuCCCSSl4 l~lCtorssupport their requested award of$35.000 in attorneys' Ices and costs. emphasizing in particular counsel"s skill and experience: the R Johnson's hours mc calculated as follows: 104.3 hours dedicated to the case in total (ECF No. 24-) <It 3). minus 1.0 hour for duplicative work drafting the Complaint and 3.3 hours in transit = 100 compensable hours. 100 hours x $275/per hour ~ S21.500.00. ')Time spent ill long-distance travel above the two (2) hours limit each way. that cannot be devoted to substantive work. may be charged at one-half the lawyer's hourly ratc. Loc. R. ApI'. 13(2)(c). 3.3 hours x ($275 per hour/2) = S453.75. "'S21.500.00 + 453.75 = S21.953.75 r I Their lodestar amount is cakul<ttcd as follows: 15A hours :x S350/pcr hour = $5,390.00. 150, 11.7 ~ S 1.755.00 " S27 .953.75 (Johnson) + $5.390.00 (Greenwald. Davidson. Radbi I) + $1.755.00 (Stravtiz) = S 35.098.75. IIThc Supreme COllt1 has "reccntly shed doubt on the rcliability" of utilizing the twelvc./o/mSOJ1 nlctors, arguing that such an approach may lead to subjective application and dispar<ttc results. S'ee Andr"de \'. Af!"olek, 111c',852 F, Supp, 2d 637. 645-646 (D. Md. 2012) (citing Pal/ilL' I', l\enn,l' A. ex rei. IVinn. 559 U.S. 542, 551 (2010)). Accordingly, the COLIn will only addrcss the factors that arc relcvant and raised by the parties. or "s 10 uncertainty of outcome the similarity bctwcen their rcqucsted at 5-15. Defendant considerations reasonable 283-84 at trial: thcir contingcncy fee arrangemcnt: their successful rcsults and award and those in other FDCP II selliements. ECF No, 17 does not address the JohllSon factors speci Iically and the Court Iinds thai such were "subsumed within the initial calculation hourly rate!. i.e .. the lod6star]." (4th Cir. 2(13)(quoling of hours reasonably at a Randle \" II & I' Capilal, Inc .. 513 F. IIpp'x 282. lIellSle.\', 461 U.S. at 434 n, 9)(alteration the Court does not lind the application expended of the Johnsonillctors in original). Therefore. here warrant a departure Ii'om the lodestar amount. Finally. Plaintiffs' levcl of success warrants an award of the full lodestar amount. "The Fourth Circuit has described calculation. depending the analysis of the lew I of success as the third step of a lee noting that courts 'should award some percentage of the remaining amount. on the degree of success enjoyed by the plaintiff. ..• AfcFeele,l' \', Jackson .'II. £nlll1'l. LLC. No. CY DKC 12-1019.2016 WL 4269042. \', [Joc::ar. 738 F.3d 81. 88 (4th Cir. 2(13)). at *3 (D. Md, Aug. 15. 2(16)(quoting "What the eourtmust achieve! d I a Ievcl of suecess that makes the hours reasonably ask is whether .the plaintiff expended a satisfllctory making a fee award .... Doe \', Kidd. 656 F. IIpp'x 643. 657 (4th Cir. 2(16)(quoting U.S, at 434)), Ilere. the settlement pay the two named Plaintiffs. common included. ECF No, 22 at 3. In addition. to be distributed Defendant letters going forward. to address Plaintiffs' finds that Plaintiffs' recovery justifies the fee award. 11 basis ttl[ Hensley. 461 in relevant part. that Delendant Garza and Easton. $1.000.00 fund in the amount of $12.425.00 class members, collection agreement Ah'A/ee would each. and that it would create a on a pro rata basis to each of the 884 agreed to change the language in its debt concerns, ECF No. 16 at4, Thus. the Court E. Costs Plaintiffs also request reimbursement for the following costs: $400 filing fee: $50 I'm hac l'ice admission: $68 service of process: $2.1 0 PACER charges: and $646.42 in travel expenses Irom Boca Raton. Florida to Greenbelt. Maryland to attend the final settlement approval hearing. ECF Nos. 17-1: 24-1. Defendant does not challenge these costs and the Court tinds them reasonable. Therefore. the Court will grant those amounts. totaling $1.166.52. in full. When added to the attorney's fees. the total amount in fees and costs would equal $36.265.27. The parties have agreed to limit the total award for attorney's fees and costs to $35.000.00 and the Court. therefore. awards that amount. IV. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons. Plaintiffs' Motion 1()rAttorney's Fees. ECF No. 17. is granted. Plaintiffs are awarded $35.000.00 in attorney's Ices and costsX Date: December Z,120 ord~~all issue. 16 Gcorge J. Ilazel United States District Judge 12

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