Broadcast Music, Inc. et al v. Steele's Restaurant, Inc. et al
ORDER granting 17 Motion for Attorney Fees. CASE CLOSED. Signed by District Judge Sharion Aycock on 7/28/2017. (adm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
BROADCAST MUSIC, INC., et al.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:16cv155-SA-RP
STEELE’S RESTAURANT, INC., and
JASON L. STEELE
This matter arises from the Court’s award of a default judgment in Plaintiff’s copyright
infringement suit against Defendants. Pursuant to this Court’s Order , Plaintiffs submitted
their Motion for Attorney’s Fees  and provided evidentiary support as to their request.
Defendants have not responded.
The Copyright Act gives courts discretion to award attorneys’ fees to the prevailing
party.1 In the Fifth Circuit, attorneys’ fees awards are “‘the rule rather than the exception and
should be awarded routinely’” and “evenhandedly to both prevailing plaintiffs and defendants.”
Virgin Records Am., Inc. v. Thompson, 512 F.3d 724, 726 (5th Cir. 2008) (quoting Positive Black
Talk v. Cash Money Records, Inc., 394 F.3d 357, 380 (5th Cir. 2004)).
The Supreme Court has held that courts deciding requests for attorney’s fees and costs in
a copyright infringement case “must take into account a range of considerations.” Kirtsaeng v.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., -- U.S. --, 136 S. Ct. 1979, 1984, 195 L. Ed. 2d 368 (2016). In
particular, district courts “should give substantial weight to the objective reasonableness of the
losing party’s position, while still taking into account all other circumstances relative to the
granting fees.” Id. at 1981–82, 195 L. Ed. 2d 368. Other circumstances include “frivolousness,
In any civil action under this title, the court in its discretion may allow the recovery of full costs by or against any
party other than the United States or an officer thereof. Except as otherwise provided by this title, the court may also
award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs. 17 U.S.C. § 505.
motivation, objective unreasonableness[,] and the need in particular circumstances to advance
considerations of compensation and deterrence.” Id. at 1985, 195 L. Ed. 2d 368 (quoting Fogerty
v. Fantasy, Inc., 510 U.S. 517, 535, 114 S. Ct. 1023, 127 L. Ed. 2d 455 (1994)).
If the court determines that the prevailing party is to receive fees, the court must calculate
a “lodestar:” the reasonable number of hours expended on successful claims multiplied by a
reasonable hourly rate. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433, 103 S. Ct. 1933, 76 L. Ed. 2d
40 (1983) (cited with approval in Fogerty, 510 U.S. at 534, 114 S. Ct. 1023, as relevant to
awarding attorneys’ fees in copyright cases); see also Bridgmon v. Array Sys. Corp., 325 F.3d
572, 578 (5th Cir. 2003).
Plaintiffs seek $8,000.00 in costs and attorney’s fees. They support the reasonableness of
this request with submitted invoices from their Counsel. The specific tasks accomplished by
Plaintiff’s attorney are outlined and multiplied by an hourly rate of $200.00 per hour. As Counsel
for Plaintiffs spent 56.8 hours completing legal research, preparing memos, drafting letters and
reviewing court documents, his total professional billing amounts to $11,360.00. Furthermore,
the invoice shows that Plaintiff’s Counsel or his firm incurred costs in the amount of $456.00.
The Court finds no frivolity, improper motivation, or objective unreasonableness in the
submitted invoice. Furthermore, the Court finds the lodestar used to be reasonable, considering
that Counselor Smith has diligently worked to obtain relief on behalf of his client. Therefore, the
Court finds the requested fees are reasonable.
Plaintiff’s motion is well supported by the evidence and the Court finds the lodestar to be
reasonable. Therefore, Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees is GRANTED. As there are no
further pending issues on docket in this matter, this case is CLOSED.
SO ORDERED this the 28th day of July, 2017.
/s/ Sharion Aycock
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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