Ellis et al

Filing 215

ORDER granting 207 motion for attorney's fees, costs, and pre- and post-judgment interest in accordance with this order. Clerk shall: enter award of attorney's fees in amount of $125,435 and award of costs in amount of &# 036;22,656.04 in favor of plaintiff and against defendants; enter award of pre-judgment interest in amount identified in 28 USC § 1961 in favor of plaintiff and against defendants from 7/15/09 to date of final judgment; and enter award of post-ju dgment interest in amount identified in 28 USC § 1961 in favor of plaintiff and against defendants from date of judgment until judgment is satisfied. Signed by Judge Larry R. Hicks on 6/25/15. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - JC)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 8 *** 9 10 11 12 13 14 MELINDA ELLIS, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ) ALESSI TRUSTEE CORPORATION; ) DAVID ANTHONY ALESSI; and ALESSI & ) KOENIG, LLC., ) ) Defendants. ) ) 3:09-CV-0428-LRH-WGC ORDER 15 16 Before the court is plaintiff Melinda Ellis’ (“Ellis”) motion for attorney’s fees, costs, and 17 pre-and post-judgment interest. Doc. #207.1 Defendants Alessi Trustee Corporation (“ATC”) and 18 Alessi & Koenig, LLC. (“A&K”) have filed an opposition (Doc. #212) to which Ellis replied 19 (Doc. #213). 20 I. 21 Facts and Procedural History In January 2000, plaintiff Ellis purchased real property in the Arrowcreek subdivision of 22 Washoe County, Nevada. In December 2000, Ellis purchased another property in the same 23 subdivision. Both properties were subject to recorded Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions 24 (“CC&Rs”) which include the collection of homeowner’s association (“HOA”) dues for the care 25 and maintenance of the subdivision. 26 1 Refers to the court’s docket number. 1 In early 2008, Ellis defaulted on her HOA obligations for both properties. In response, 2 Arrowcreek retained defendant A&K, along with its separately formed collection services company 3 defendant ATC, to collect on Ellis’ delinquent assessments. ATC and A&K then contacted Ellis 4 and began non-judicial foreclosure proceedings against her in an attempt to collect the delinquent 5 assessments. During this process, defendants sent Ellis collection notices and recorded liens against 6 the properties in ever increasing amounts as defendants added their own costs and fees to the 7 delinquent amounts. 8 9 On July 15, 2009, Ellis filed a complaint against ATC and A&K alleging three causes of action: (1) breach of fiduciary duty; (2) violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act 10 (“FDCPA”); and (3) civil racketeering. Doc. #1, Exhibit A. A jury trial was held on Ellis’ claims 11 from January 20, 2015, through January 26, 2015. On January 26, 2015, the jury returned a verdict 12 in favor of Ellis on her remaining claims. Doc. #196. Thereafter, Ellis filed the present motion for 13 attorney’s fees. Doc. #207. 14 II. Discussion 15 In her motion, Ellis seeks an award of attorney’s fees in the amount of $125,435.00 16 pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a). See Doc. #207. Ellis also seeks an award of costs in the amount 17 of $22,656.04 split between Ellis’ current counsel in the amount of $15,535.46 and Ellis’ former 18 counsel in the amount of $7,120.58. Id. Finally, Ellis is seeking an award of pre-and post-judgment 19 interest. Id. The court shall address each request below. 20 A. Attorney’s Fees 21 Under the FDCPA, any debt collector found liable for violating the act is responsible for the 22 plaintiff’s costs and reasonable attorney’s fees as determined by the court. 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a). 23 An award of attorney’s fees under Section 1692k(a) is mandatory. See e.g., Camacho v. Bridgeport 24 Fin., Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 978 (9th Cir. 2008) (citations and quotation marks omitted). 25 Here, Ellis requests $125,435 in fees. The total fee award is based on 325.60 hours of 26 attorney time billed at $350 per hour and 91.80 hours of paralegal time billed at $125 per hour. The 2 1 court finds that the billable rates requested along with the total time worked are reasonable for the 2 work produced in this matter and the fact that the action ultimately went to a jury. Further, the 3 court notes that comparable awards have been awarded in other FDCPA cases in this district. See 4 e.g., Calvert v. Alessi & Koenig, LLC, 2013 WL 3833053, at *2 (D. Nev. 2013) (awarding 5 plaintiff’s counsel fees in an FCDPA case at a reasonable $350 per hour for attorney work and 6 $125 per hour for paralegal work). Finally, Ellis has complied with the requirements of Local Rule 7 54-16 by providing the court with a “reasonable itemization and description of the work 8 performed.” Therefore, the court shall grant Ellis’ motion for an award of attorney’s fees in the 9 amount of $125,435.00. 10 B. Costs 11 In her motion, Ellis also seeks an award of costs in the amount of $22,656.04. 12 See Doc. #207. Generally, Rule 54 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the awarding of 13 costs to a prevailing party. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 54. Further, costs are also awarded to a prevailing 14 party under the FDCPA. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a). In this district, a prevailing party seeking an 15 award of costs must serve and submit a bill of costs to the clerk. See LR 54-1. 16 Here, Ellis has submitted a bill of costs for the requested amount and provided the requisite 17 documentation of her costs. See Doc. #206. Further, defendants have not filed any objection to the 18 requested costs. Therefore, the court shall grant Ellis’ motion and award her costs in the amount of 19 $22,656.04. 20 C. Pre-and Post-judgment Interest 21 28 U.S.C. § 1961 provides for an award of post-judgment interest on all civil judgments. 22 Similarly, under this statute, a court may also award pre-judgment interest. See F.T.C. v. Grant 23 Connect, LLC, 827 F. Supp. 2d 1199, 1234 (D. Nev. 2011). The purpose of an award of pre- 24 judgment interest is to fully compensate the plaintiff for an injury and is especially appropriate in 25 actions under consumer protection statutes, like the FDCPA. See Sterling v. Am. Credit & 26 Collections, LLC, 2012 WL 3553757, at *5 (D. Colo. 2012). 3 1 Here, the court finds that an award of both pre-and post-judgment interest is appropriate in 2 this action and consistent with similar awards in FDCPA cases. See Sterling, 2012 WL 3553757, at 3 *5; see also, Jones v. Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery, Inc., 2012 WL 1580759, at *6 (E.D. Tex. 4 2012). Therefore, the court shall award pre-judgment interest at the Treasury Bill rate as defined in 5 28 U.S.C. § 1961 from July 14, 2009 - the date that defendants were served in this matter - and 6 post-judgment interest at the rate identified in 28 U.S.C. § 1961 from the date of judgment. 7 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion for attorney’s fees, costs, and pre- 8 and post-judgment interest (Doc. #207) is GRANTED in accordance with this order. The clerk of 9 court shall enter an award of attorney’s fees in the amount of $125,435.00 and an award of costs in 10 the amount of $22,656.04 in favor of plaintiff Melinda Ellis and against defendants Alessi Trustee 11 Corporation and Alessi & Koenig, LLC jointly and severally. 12 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the clerk of court shall enter an award of pre-judgment 13 interest in the amount identified in 28 U.S.C. § 1961 in favor of plaintiff Melinda Ellis and against 14 defendants Alessi Trustee Corporation and Alessi & Koenig, LLC jointly and severally from 15 July 14, 2009 to the date of final judgment in this matter. 16 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the clerk of court shall enter an award of post-judgment 17 interest in the amount identified in 28 U.S.C. § 1961 in favor of plaintiff Melinda Ellis and against 18 defendants Alessi Trustee Corporation and Alessi & Koenig, LLC jointly and severally from the 19 date of judgment until such judgment is satisfied. 20 IT IS SO ORDERED. 21 DATED this 25th day of June, 2015. 22 23 __________________________________ LARRY R. HICKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 24 25 26 4

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.


Why Is My Information Online?