Monsanto Company et al v. Hargrove et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the plaintiffs motion for attorneys fees [Doc. # 59 ] is granted in part and denied in part. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the defendants shall pay to the plaintiffs attorneys fees in the amount of $96,239.81 and costs in the amount of $6,295.39. Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 9/24/12. (KJS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MONSANTO COMPANY, et al.,
BRENT M. HARGROVE, et al.,
No. 4:09-CV-1628 (CEJ)
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the plaintiffs’ motion for attorneys’ fees.
Defendants have not responded to the motion and the time for doing so has expired.
On November 7, 2011, the Court entered default judgment against the
defendants and determined that plaintiffs were entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees
pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285 and under the terms of the parties’ licensing agreement.
As directed by the Court, the plaintiffs have submitted a verified statement of the
attorneys’ fees and costs they incurred in this matter.
Where an award of attorneys’ fees is warranted, the amount must be
reasonable. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). The amount of attorney
hours reasonably expended on a matter multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate—known
as the lodestar approach—is an acceptable method of calculating a reasonable
attorneys’ fees award. Perdue v. Kenny A. ex rel. Winn, 130 S. Ct. 1662, 1672 (2010).
Time spent on a matter that is "excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary" is not
reasonable. El-Tabech v. Clarke, 616 F.3d 834, 842 (8th Cir.2010) (quoting Hensley,
461 U.S. at 434).
Here, the Court finds that the rates charged by plaintiffs’ legal counsel are
reasonable in comparison to the rates charged by other attorneys in the St. Louis,
Missouri market having comparable qualifications and performing similar work.
However, the Court further finds that the documents submitted reflect hours that were
not reasonably expended in light of the claims asserted against defendants.
The time records submitted by plaintiffs show entries of 2.4, 5.6, and 2.8 hours
by attorney K. Carnie, Jr. at a rate of $185 per hour; entries of 2.2, .7, .4, .4, 1.5, 1.4,
.8, and .3 hours by attorney D. Cox at a rate of $335 per hour; and entries of .8, 1.9,
and 1.8 by attorney J. Masson at a rate of $230 per hour. It appears from the
description of these entries that this time was spent researching claims against third
parties and drafting an amended complaint. Fees incurred for claims against other
parties cannot be charged to defendants here. Additionally, no amended complaint
was ever filed. Therefore, these expenditures will be disallowed.1
The time records also show entries of 1.8, .8, 2.8, .8, 4.3, 1.8, 3.6, 1.6, 3.4,
2.2, 1.1, .8, 1.1, 1.3, 2.7, 4.3, 1.8, 3.7,2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.4, 2.1, 2.3, 2.3, and 1.7 hours
by attorney J. Masson, as well as, an entry for 1.4 hours by attorney K. Carnie, Jr. The
descriptions accompanying these entries detail research that was either redundant of
the services provided by plaintiffs’ experts or was in furtherance of claims and issues
that were never raised in this case.
Accordingly, these expenditures will be
The entries for 3.3, 1.2, and 1.0 hours by attorney M. Boder at the rate of $180
The amount of fees deducted for this category of disallowed entries is (10.8
hours x $185) + (7.7 x $335) + (4.5 x $230) = $5,152.50
The amount of fees deducted for this category of disallowed entries is (59.1
hours x $230) + (1.4 x $185) = $13,852.00
per hour and the entries for 1.1 and 2.4 hours by attorney D. Cox will also be
disallowed. These hours were expended to prepare a verified statement of attorneys’
fees in response to the order awarding attorneys’ fees to plaintiffs’ as a sanction for
defendants’ failure to provide discovery. Not only is 9 hours an excessive amount of
time to produce a three-page filing [Doc. #41], but the time spent submitting an
attorneys’ fees statement was not reasonably expended toward the merits of this
The Court finds that the remainder of the attorneys’ fees and the costs claimed
by plaintiffs were reasonably incurred in this matter. After deducting the disallowed
amounts (totaling $21,167.00), the plaintiffs are entitled to recover $96,239.81 in
attorneys’ fees and $6,295.39 in costs.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the plaintiffs’ motion for attorneys’ fees [Doc.
#59] is granted in part and denied in part.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the defendants shall pay to the plaintiffs
attorneys’ fees in the amount of $96,239.81 and costs in the amount of $6,295.39.
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 24th day of September, 2012.
The amount of fees deducted for this category of disallowed entries is (5.5
hours x $180) + (3.5 hours x $335) = $2,162.50.
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