Cooley v. P & C Motel Corp. et al
ORDER granting 13 16 Plaintiff Christopher Cooley's Motion for Default Judgment against Defendant Aevum Hotels, LLC as to his federal and state claims of disability discrimination. Signed by Judge Michael R. Barrett on 8/2/2022. (kkz)
Case: 1:21-cv-00798-MRB Doc #: 19 Filed: 08/02/22 Page: 1 of 15 PAGEID #: 108
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
WESTERN DIVISION AT CINCINNATI
Case No. 1:21cv798
Judge Michael R. Barrett
Aevum Hotels, LLC,
ENTRY AND ORDER AWARDING DEFAULT JUDGMENT, ATTORNEY’S FEES, AND
On May 3, 2022, the Clerk entered default against Defendant Aevum Hotels, LLC.
(Doc. 12). Before the Court is Plaintiff Christopher Cooley’s Motion for Default Judgment
against Aevum Hotels (Doc. 13), as supplemented (Doc. 16). A hearing was held on
Plaintiff’s Motion on July 7, 2022. (See 07/07/2022 Minute Entry). Aevum Hotels did
not respond to Plaintiff’s Motion, nor did it appear at the hearing. 1
Plaintiff initiated this civil action by filing a Complaint on December 28, 2021 in
which he named as defendants P&C Motel Corp. (dba Red Carpet Inn), Chato, LLC, and
John Does 1 through 3. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff then filed a First Amended Complaint on
February 15, 2022, naming a single defendant, Aevum Hotels, LLC (dba Red Carpet Inn).
A summons, along with a copy of the First Amended Complaint, was
Plaintiff served his default judgment motion and all related filings (by First-Class Mail) on Aevum
Hotels, LLC’s statutory agent registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. (Doc. 13 PAGEID 45, 46; Doc.
14 PAGEID 51; Doc. 16 PAGEID 79, 87; Doc. 18 PAGEID 107). Notice of the hearing date and time was
included. (Doc. 14 PAGEID 49; Doc. 16 PAGEID 78, 79). At the July 7, 2022 hearing, Plaintiff’s counsel
represented that he has spoken (twice) to an individual claiming to be the hotel owner who is “aware” of this
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“substitute” served on the registered agent for Aevum Hotels, LLC on March 8, 2022,
establishing an answer date of March 29, 2022.
(Doc. 8); see Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(a)(1)(A)(i). Aevum Hotels failed to answer or otherwise respond to the First Amended
Complaint within the 21-day deadline. Upon Plaintiff’s request, the Clerk entered default
against Aevum Hotels on May 3, 2022. (Docs. 11, 12). Plaintiff’s default judgment
II. STANDARD OF LAW
The sequence of procedural steps required of one seeking judgment by default
“begin[s] with the entry of a default by the clerk upon a plaintiff’s request.” United Coin
Meter Co. v. Seaboard Coastline R.R., 705 F.2d 839, 844 (6th Cir. 1983) (quoting
Meehan v. Snow, 652 F.2d 274, 276 (2d Cir. 1981)); Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). Next, the
party seeking default judgment must apply for one, either to the Clerk (if the claim is for a
“sum certain” or a sum that “can be made certain by computation”) or the Court (in all
other cases). Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(1), (b)(2). A court may enter default judgment
without a hearing, but it also may hold a hearing when it needs to: conduct an accounting;
determine the amount of damages; establish the truth of any allegations by evidence; or
investigate any other matter. Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2)(A)–(D). When deciding whether
to enter default judgment, a court “should take into account: 1) possible prejudice to the
plaintiff; 2) the merits of the claims; 3) the sufficiency of the complaint; 4) the amount of
money at stake; 5) possible disputed material facts; 6) whether the default was due to
excusable neglect; and 7) the preference for decisions on the merits.” Russell v. City of
Farmington Hills, 34 F. App’x 196, 198 (6th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted). As to the third
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factor, “[o]nce a default is entered, well-pleaded allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint,
except those pertaining to the amount of damages, are taken as true.” McIntosh v.
Check Resolution Serv., Inc., No. 10-14895, 2011 WL 1595150, at *3 (E.D. Mich. April 27,
2011) (citing Alfa Corp. v. Alfa Mort., Inc., 560 F. Supp. 2d 1166, 1174 (M.D. Ala. 2008));
see also Trice v. Lake & Country Real Estate, No. 86-1205, 1987 WL 38852, at *2 (6th
Cir. Oct. 29, 1987) (citing Dundee Cement Co. v. Howard Pipe & Concrete Prods., 722
F.2d 1319, 1323 (7th Cir. 1983) (“Upon default, the well-pleaded allegations of a
complaint relating to liability are taken as true.”)). Still, a court must assess whether the
factual allegations are legally sufficient to state the alleged cause of action. McIntosh,
2011 WL 1595150, at *3 (citing In re Indus. Diamonds Antitrust Litig., 119 F. Supp. 2d
418, 420 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)). Finally, before entering default judgment, a court is obligated
(as always) to consider whether it has both subject-matter and personal jurisdiction over a
defendant. See, e.g., Citizens Bank v. Parnes, 376 Fed. App’x 496, 501 (6th Cir. 2010)
(“Personal jurisdiction over a defendant is a threshold issue that must be present to
support any subsequent order of the district court, including entry of the default
judgment.”) (citing Kroger Co. v. Malease Foods Corp., 437 F.3d 506, 510 (6th Cir.
Facts taken as true. Plaintiff Christopher Cooley is an individual with vision and
hearing impairments that qualify as disabilities under federal2 and state 3 law. (Doc. 5
See 42 U.S.C. §§ 12102(1)(A), 12102(2)(A).
See Ohio Rev. Code § 4112.01(A)(13).
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(¶¶ 5, 51)).
Because his hearing and vision impairments are severe, he
relies—heavily—on his service animal 4 (Larkin) for assistance with his major life
activities. (Id. (¶¶ 2, 4–6)).
On August 11, 2021, Mr. Cooley telephoned Red Carpet Inn (located at 8590
Colerain Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45251)—a place of public accommodation under
federal5 and state 6 law—to reserve a room. (Id. (¶¶ 2, 19)). During the call, he advised
that he would be accompanied by his service animal. (Id. (¶¶ 2, 21)). A hotel employee
stated that pets were not allowed. (Id. (¶¶ 2, 22)). However, he acknowledged that Mr.
Cooley was asking about a service animal (as opposed to a pet) and stated that he
needed to talk to the owner before he could process the reservation. (Id. (¶¶ 2, 23–24)).
Mr. Cooley called back (twice) on August 13, 2021. (Id. (¶¶ 3, 25–31)). During the
second call, the hotel employee informed him that the owner would not allow Mr. Cooley’s
service animal to stay with him at the hotel. (Id. (¶¶ 3, 31–33)). Thus, Mr. Cooley was
unable to reserve a room at Red Carpet Inn because of his use of—and reliance on—a
service animal. (Id. (¶¶ 3, 35)). The events leading up to the hotel denying him access
and services caused Mr. Cooley to suffer panic attacks and other bodily injury (to include
shortness of breath and heart palpitations). (Id. (¶ 36)).
Mr. Cooley’s First Amended Complaint alleges disability discrimination under
“Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the
benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other
mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service
animals for the purposes of this definition. . . .” 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.
See 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.
See Ohio Rev. Code § 4112.01(A)(9).
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federal (42 U.S.C. § 12182) (Count I) 7 and state (Ohio Rev. Code § 4112.02(G)) (Count
II) 8 law, as well as negligent infliction of emotional distress (Count III) 9 and negligent
hiring, retention, and/or supervision (Count IV) 10.
This Court has subject-matter jurisdiction of this civil action
because Plaintiff alleges disability discrimination under federal law. See 28 U.S.C. §
1331 (“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under
the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”). This Court has supplemental
jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s state law claims because they are “so related” to his federal
claim that “they form part of the same case or controversy[.]” See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).
Finally, this Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Aevum Hotels, which is an
Ohio limited liability company. (Doc. 5 (¶¶ 7–9)).
Sufficiency of the First Amended Complaint. Title III of the federal Americans
with Disabilities Act prohibits public accommodations discrimination.
42 U.S.C. §
12182(a) (“No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full
and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or
accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases
(or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.”). In Ohio, it is an unlawful
discriminatory practice “[f]or any proprietor or any employee, keeper, or manager of a
place of public accommodation to deny to any person, except for reasons applicable alike
(Doc. 5 (¶¶ 38–49)).
(Doc. 5 (¶¶ 50–54)).
(Doc. 5 (¶¶ 55–58)).
(Doc. 5 (¶¶ 59–66)).
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to all person regardless of race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin,
disability, age, or ancestry, the full enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages,
facilities, or privileges of the place of public accommodation.”
Ohio Rev. Code §
4112.02(G) (emphasis added); see Ohio Rev. Code § 4112.01(A)(9). More specifically,
“It shall constitute unlawful discrimination in violation of Chapter 4112. of the Revised
Code for any facility which is a place of public accommodation to: . . . [d]eny any disabled
person in a place of public accommodation the attendance of an animal assistant 11 or
require the disabled person to pay an extra charge for the attendance of the animal
assistant.” Ohio Admin. Code 4112-5-06(A)(4). The allegations contained within the
First Amended Complaint clearly state a cause of action for disability discrimination under
both federal and state law.
The allegations within the First Amended Complaint do not, however, state a
cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The tort of negligent infliction
of emotional distress “is generally asserted by a bystander because he witnessed
another person in danger and the defendant was unaware of the presence of the
bystander.” David v. Matter, 96 N.E.3d 1012, at ¶ 14 (Ohio Ct. App. 6th Dist. 2017).
Absent an allegation of “danger to another,” a claim for negligent infliction of emotional
distress fails as a matter of law. Further, the Court finds that the allegations within the
First Amended Complaint as to negligent hiring, retention, and/or supervision are
threadbare and thus insufficient to state a claim. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
11 “‘Animal Assistant’ means any animal which aids the disabled. Specific examples include:
(1) A dog which alerts a hearing impaired person to sounds; (2) A dog which guides a visually impaired
person; (3) A monkey which collects or retrieves items for a person whose mobility is impaired.” Ohio
Admin. Code 4112-5-02.
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678 (2009) (“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements, do not suffice.”) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007)). These rulings are largely irrelevant in terms of recovery, though,
because Ohio Rev. Code § 4112.99(A) allows for recovery of “damages, injunctive relief,
or any other appropriate relief[ ]” for violations of § 4112.02(A)(9).
Russell factors. Nearly all seven factors weigh in favor of granting Plaintiff’s
motion. The prejudice to Mr. Cooley is apparent and the Court already has determined
the sufficiency of the First Amended Complaint.
And, based on the testimony of
Plaintiff’s counsel, Defendant Aevum Hotels is aware of this lawsuit but has deliberately
chosen not to engage in litigation. (See Darr Decl., Doc. 16-2 (¶ 42)).
Remedies. Under federal law, a disabled individual who has been denied access
to a place of public accommodation can seek both injunctive relief and attorney’s fees
(including litigation expenses) and costs. See 42 U.S.C. 12188(a)(1) (citing 42 U.S.C. §
2000a-3(a)) (injunctive relief); 42 U.S.C. § 12205 (attorney’s fees). As noted, Ohio law
allows for recovery of damages and injunctive relief. See Ohio Rev. Code § 4112.99(A).
Plaintiff maintains that inclusion of “damages” with no restrictive modifiers allows for
recovery of punitive (in addition to compensatory) damages. (Doc. 16 PAGEID 82 (citing
Rice v. CertainTeed Corp., 84 Ohio St.3d 417, 419, 704 N.E.2d 1217, 1219 (Ohio 1999)
(“‘Damages,’ absent a restrictive modifier like ‘compensatory,’ ‘actual,’ ‘consequential’ or
‘punitive,’ is an inclusive term embracing the panoply of legally recognized pecuniary
relief.”))). Further, because punitive damages can be recovered, so, too, can attorney’s
fees. (Id. (citing Sutherland v. Nationwide Gen. Ins. Co., 102 Ohio App.3d 297, 301, 657
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N.E.2d 281, 283–4 (Ohio Ct. App. 10th Dist. 1995) (“Ohio law has long permitted recovery
of attorney fees, even in the absence of statutory authorization, where punitive damages
are proper.”)) 12).
Injunctive relief under federal law.
“Ordinarily a federal court considering
whether to award permanent injunctive relief to a prevailing plaintiff applies the four-factor
test historically employed by courts of equity.” eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547
U.S. 388, 390 (2006) (holding traditional test applies to disputes arising under the Patent
Act); Audi AG v. D’Amato, 469 F.3d 534, 550 (6th Cir. 2006) (citing eBay, applying
traditional test to Lanham Act violations). “A plaintiff must demonstrate: (1) the [he] has
suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law, such as monetary
damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that, considering the balance
of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4)
that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.” eBay, 547
U.S. at 391 (citations omitted); see Hogan v. Cleveland Ave Rest., Inc., No. 2:15-cv-2883,
2021 WL 963746, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 15, 2021) (citing eBay and Audi AG, applying
traditional test to federal and state wage-and-hour laws).
Plaintiff does not address the traditional test in his papers and, in fact, cites no
caselaw whatsoever in support of his request for injunctive relief. Accordingly, the Court
will decline to exercise its discretion to issue a permanent injunction.
Damages under Ohio law.
Plaintiff seeks $10,000 in actual damages and
$20,000 in punitive damages.
See Magnum Asset Acquisition, LLC v. Green Energy Tech., LLC, No. 5:19-cv-2930, 2020 WL
377699, at *3 n.4 (N.D. Ohio Jan. 23, 2020).
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Mr. Cooley testified that he had “an anxiety and panic attack” after the August 11
telephone call, during which his heart began “racing” and he had “difficulty catching [his]
breath.” (Cooley Decl., Doc. 16-1 (¶ 17)). After ten minutes passed, he was “able to
regain some composure and control of [his] breathing and heart palpitations.” (Id. (¶
22)). After the August 13 telephone call, when he was told that the hotel owner would not
allow him to bring his service animal, Mr. Cooley had “a similar mental, emotional, and
physical response . . . further exacerbated by the finality of the decision[.]” (Id. (¶ 23)).
Plaintiff argues that Ohio law permits noneconomic losses to be recovered as
actual damages. (Doc. 16 PAGEID 83 (citing Whitaker v. M.T. Automotive, Inc., 111
Ohio St.3d 177, 855 N.E.2d 825, syl. ¶ 1 (Ohio 2006) (construing compensatory relief
then allowed under the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (“OSCPA”)). He contends
that the Court should look to the OSCPA for guidance in determining the appropriate
amount of actual damages “for egregious illegal conduct by a business, toward a
consumer[.]” (Id. PAGEID 84). Since-revised Ohio Rev. Code § 1345.09(A) allows a
consumer to “rescind the transaction or recover the consumer’s actual economic
damages plus an amount not exceeding five thousand dollars in noneconomic
damages.” (Emphasis added). Because Mr. Cooley suffered two separate instances of
public accommodations discrimination because of his disability, he asks the Court to
award him $5,000 for each violation, for a total award of $10,000 in noneconomic
damages. The Court finds this statutory analogy to be appropriate and hence awards
Plaintiff $10,000 in actual damages.
Plaintiff argues that an award of punitive damages is indicated “given the repeated
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and clear violations of law.” (Doc. 16 PAGEID 85). He explains:
The course of events in this case gave Defendant two chances to “do the right
thing,” with time in between to research the business’s obligations under the law
and make the right call. Defendant failed to do so. Additionally, Defendant’s
failure to engage in this litigation is instructive. Plaintiff’s counsel was contacted
by a representative of Defendant on multiple occasions to discuss this pending
case. This makes clear that Defendant is aware of the allegations of this case
and this case having been filed. Despite all of this, Defendant has not offered any
justification for its actions or its positions. Plaintiff’s counsel is not aware of, and
there is no record of, any type of mitigating factor in this case. Simply put,
Defendant has chosen to deny disabled individuals access to its place of public
accommodation, in violation of state and federal law, and has offered no
justification or defense for this conduct.
Having conducted its own research, the Court concludes that an award of punitive
damages is not warranted, because Plaintiff has produced no evidence of actual malice.
See Rice, 84 Ohio St.3d at 422, 704 N.E.2d at 1221 (“Because ‘damages’ as employed in
R.C. 4112.99 cannot be said to preclude the award of punitive damages, we advise the
federal court that punitive damages may be awarded upon evidence of actual malice
in civil actions brought pursuant to the statute.”) (emphasis added). “[A]ctual malice,
necessary for an award of punitive damages, is (1) that state of mind under which a
person’s conduct is characterized by hatred, ill will or a spirit of revenge, or (2) a
conscious disregard for the rights and safety of other persons that has a great probability
of causing substantial harm.” Preston v. Murty, 32 Ohio St.3d 334, 512 N.E.2d 1174, syl.
(Ohio 1989) (italics in original). The first standard is obviously inapplicable here. And
the testimony of Mr. Cooley and his counsel—which, at best, describes reckless
behavior—fails to support the second. See Motorists Mut. Ins. Co. v. Said, 63 Ohio St.3d
690, 698, 590 N.E.2d 1228, 1234 (Ohio 1992) (“Preston observed that actual malice
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requires consciousness of the near certainty (or otherwise stated ‘great probability’) that
substantial harm will be caused by the tortious behavior. Any less callous mental state is
insufficient to incur that level of societal outrage necessary to justify an award of punitive
damages. Therefore, it is evident that a reckless actor, who only has knowledge of
the mere possibility that his or her actions may result in substantial harm, is not
behaving maliciously.”) (emphasis added), overruled in part on other grounds by Zoppo
v. Homestead Ins. Co., 71 Ohio St.3d 552, 644 N.E.2d 397, at syl. ¶ 1 (Ohio 1994);
Gibbons v. Shalodi, 174 N.E.3d 832, at ¶ 58 (Ohio Ct. App. 9th Dist. 2021) (citing
Attorney’s fees and costs under federal and state law. Plaintiff seeks an
award of $18,681.15 in attorney’s fees and costs, specifically $17,290 in attorney’s fees
and $1,391.15 in costs. (Docs. 16-2, 18). He supports his request with declarations
from one of his attorneys of record, Alexander Darr. 13 (Id.).
The Sixth Circuit has explained the analysis of awarding attorneys’ fees:
A “court's initial point of departure, when calculating reasonable . . .
fees, is the determination of the fee applicant's ‘lodestar,’ which is the
proven number of hours reasonably expended on the case by an attorney,
multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate.” Isabel v. City of Memphis, 404
F.3d 404, 415 (6th Cir. 2005) (citing Hensley [v. Eckerhart], 461 U.S. [424,]
433, 103 S.Ct. 1933). “The district court . . . should exclude from this
initial fee calculation hours that were not ‘reasonably expended.’”
Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434, 103 S.Ct. 1933 (quoting S.Rep. No. 94–1011, at
6 (1976) (“counsel for prevailing parties should be paid, as is traditional with
attorneys compensated by a fee-paying client, for all time reasonably
expended on a matter.”) (internal quotations omitted)). This means that
“[c]ounsel for the prevailing party should make a good faith effort to exclude
from a fee request hours that are excessive, redundant, or otherwise
unnecessary,” and thus “[h]ours that are not properly billed to one's client
No fees are being sought for hours diaried by Plaintiff’s other attorney of record, Jumana M. Ali.
(Darr Supp. Decl., Doc. 18 (¶ 6(a) n.1)).
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also are not properly billed to one's adversary pursuant to statutory
authority.” Id. at 434, 103 S.Ct. 1933. (quotations omitted).
Binta B. ex rel. S.A. v. Gordon, 710 F.3d 608, 627–28 (6th Cir. 2013) (emphasis in
original). Time spent litigating the fee issue (“fees for fees”) is properly included in any
award. See Ne. Coal. for Homeless v. Husted, 831 F.3d 686, 723, 724 (6th Cir. 2016)
(citing Weisenberger v. Huecker, 593 F.2d 49, 53–54 (6th Cir. 1979)).
Plaintiff requests compensation for 24.7 hours for Mr. Darr. The Court finds that
2.7 of these hours are properly excluded because they involve strictly administrative
tasks. 14 Fees will be awarded, then, based on 22 hours of attorney time.
Plaintiff requests an hourly rate for $700. 15
The Court finds this rate to be
Hourly rates should be calculated according to “the prevailing market rates in the
Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895 (1984).
community” for purposes of determining the “prevailing market rates” is the “legal
14 Dec. 28, 2021 (Prepare Requests for Issuance of Summons; confirm contact information for
respective defendants. (0.3) File and Serve Case (0.3)); Dec. 29, 2021 (Compile and send service copies.
(0.2)); Dec. 31, 2021 (Delivery of Service to Chato LLC confirmed, added to file (0.1)); Jan. 6, 2022 (Review
proof of delivery from mail vendor for service. Add both documents to file. (0.2)); Jan. 7, 2022 (Compile
documents for personal service vendor for Chato LLC and P&C Motels LLC. Complete personal service
forms for matter (0.4)); Jan. 10, 2022 (Communications with personal service vendor re personal service.
Add to file. (0.2)); Feb. 18, 2022 (Email from mail vendor – review and add to file (2/18 – (0.1)). Create
USPS delivery record and add to file. (2/18 – (0.1)). Review email from vendor and vendor delivery
certificate. (2/24 – (0.1)); Mar. 4, 2022 (Prepare and order personal service for Aevum Defendant. (0.2));
Mar. 10, 2022 (Email correspondence from service vendor added to file. (0.1)); Apr. 4, 2022 (Email
correspondence with personal service vendor to obtain service affidavit for filing. (0.2)); Apr. 4, 2022 (File
executed summons (0.1)). (Doc. 16-2 PAGEID 102–03). June 29, 2022 (File supplemental documents in
support of motion for default judgment. (0.1)). (Doc. 18 PAGEID 105 (¶ 4(a))). Had these tasks been
diaried by a paralegal and billed at an appropriate rate, the Court would not have excluded them.
Mr. Darr arrived at this hourly rate by conducting an analysis of the Laffey Matrix—which outlines
reasonable rates for attorneys in the Washington D.C. area—as adjusted by the federally-compiled locality
pay tables. See Ramsey v. Int’l Computer Systems, Inc., No. 1:16-cv-745 (S.D. Ohio Jan. 3, 2017) (Doc.
22 PAGEID 332) (Black, J.). As explained infra, the undersigned will instead use the Rubin Committee
rates, increased by an appropriate cost-of-living allowance.
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community within that court’s territorial jurisdiction.” Adcock-Ladd v. Sec’y of Treasury,
227 F.3d 343, 350 (6th Cir. 2000). See Linneman v. Vita-Mix Corp., 970 F.3d 621, 630
(6th Cir. 2020) (“This circuit uses the ‘community market rule’ to calculate a reasonable
billing rate.”) (citing Hadix v. Johnson, 65 F.3d 532, 536 (6th Cir. 1995)).
Judges in the Southern District of Ohio often refer to the Rubin Committee rates
and apply a 4% annual cost-of-living allowance to measure their reasonableness.
Planned Parenthood Sw. Ohio Region v. Ohio Dep’t of Health, No. 1:21-cv-00189 (S.D.
Ohio Apr. 8, 2021) (Doc. 22) 16; Ball v. Kasich, No. 2:16-cv-282, 2020 WL 3050241, at *2
(S.D. Ohio June 8, 2020); Doe v. Ohio, No. 2:91-cv-00464, 2020 WL 728276, at *10 (S.D.
Ohio Feb. 12, 2020); Gibson v. Forest Hills School Dist. Bd. of Educ., No. 1:11-cv-329,
2014 WL 3530708, at *6 (S.D. Ohio July 15, 2014); Hunter v. Hamilton Cty. Bd. of
Elections, No. 1:10-cv-820, 2013 WL 5467751, at *17 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 30, 2013);
Georgia-Pacific LLC v. Am. Int’l Specialty Lines Ins. Co., 278 F.R.D. 187, 192 (S.D. Ohio
2010) (citing West v. AK Steel Corp. Retirement Accumulation Pension Plan, 657 F.
Supp. 2d 914, 932 n.4 (S.D. Ohio 2009)). The Rubin Committee rates are “a list of
pre-calculated billing rates tiered by years of experience” to determine a reasonable rate
for the area. Linneman, 970 F.3d at 630.
Mr. Darr is a 2010 law school graduate, who, since 2013, owns his own firm.
(Darr Decl., Doc. 16-2 (¶¶ 21, 24)). After law school, Mr. Darr clerked for a federal
district judge and then was associated with a large Chicago law firm. (Id. (¶¶ 21, 23)).
Under the Rubin Committee rates, he would qualify as an “Intermediate Partner” with
16 See Planned Parenthood Sw. Ohio Region v. Ohio Dep’t of Health, No. 1:21-cv-00189, 2021 WL
1169102 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 29, 2021) (granting motion to remand and fees (and costs) under 28 U.S.C. §
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11-20 years of experience. The Court calculates the 2022 Rubin Committee rate for an
attorney with 11-20 years of experience to be $523.64. Based on more than 15 years on
the federal Bench, and consistent with the aforementioned calculation, the Court finds
that an hourly rate of $525 is a reasonable indicator of hourly rates charged in the
Cincinnati market for attorneys with Mr. Darr’s experience. Accordingly, it will be applied
to the allowed hours diaried by Mr. Darr, for an award of $11,550. (24.0 hours x
As noted, Plaintiff seeks costs (to include litigation expenses) in the amount of
$1,393.15. Mr. Darr testifies to their breakdown: filing fee ($402.00); process service
fees ($255.00); postage ($54.11); photocopying ($53.04); legal research costs ($629.00).
(Id. (¶¶ 46, 47)).
The Court finds that these costs were reasonably necessary to
prosecute this civil action and will award them in full.
Based on the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Christopher Cooley’s Motion for Default
Judgment against Defendant Aevum Hotels, LLC (Doc. 13), as supplemented (Doc. 16),
is GRANTED as to his federal and state claims of disability discrimination. DEFAULT
JUDGMENT is hereby ENTERED in favor of Plaintiff Christopher Cooley and against
Defendant Aevum Hotels, LLC in the amount of $10,000 in actual damages. In addition,
Plaintiff Christopher Cooley is awarded attorney’s fees in the amount of $11,550 and
costs in the amount of $1,393.15, for a total award of $12,943.15, which shall be paid
directly to Alexander Darr and Darr Law LLC, 1391 W. 5th Ave., Ste. 313, Columbus,
Ohio 43212. Finally, Defendant Aevum Hotels, LLC is referred to “U.S. Attorney Parker
Case: 1:21-cv-00798-MRB Doc #: 19 Filed: 08/02/22 Page: 15 of 15 PAGEID #: 122
recognizes Service Dog Awareness Week, reminds public that ADA, FHA protect service
animals & owners,” United States Department of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office
ness-week-reminds-public-ada-fha-protect (last visited 7/27/2022).
The Clerk shall serve a copy of this Entry and Order on Aevum Hotels, LLC (by
First-Class Mail) through its statutory agent (Darshan Patel, 8590 Colerain Avenue,
Cincinnati, OH 45251) registered with the Ohio Secretary of State.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Michael R. Barrett
Michael R. Barrett, Judge
United States District Court
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