The Danville Group v. Carmax Business Services, LLC
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER that Plaintiff's re 67 Declaration is GRANTED IN PART. Defendant shall pay Plaintiff's reasonable fees of $22,505.50 within twenty (20) days of the date of this Order (see order for details). Signed by Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan on 4/27/21. (klau, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA
THE DANVILLE GROUP,
d/b/a ROOTSTOCK SOFTWARE,
CARMAX BUSINESS SERVICES, LLC,
Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-696 (LO/TCB)
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Declaration of Lauren Champaign Stating
Fees and Costs Relating to Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel (Dkt. 67). For the reasons articulated
below, Plaintiff’s fee petition is granted in part.
Plaintiff The Danville Group d/b/a Rootstock Software (“Plaintiff”) filed its initial
motion to compel on February 18, 2021 seeking to compel Defendant Carmax Business Services,
LLC’s (“Defendant”) production of various emails and documents relating to the parties’ prior
contract. (Dkt. 45.) The undersigned granted Plaintiff’s motion on March 19, 2021 and ordered
Defendant to produce the missing documents as soon as possible and to submit a status update by
March 30, 2021. (Dkt 66.) Additionally, the Order stated that “Plaintiff is awarded fees and costs
associated with this motion. Plaintiff shall submit a separate declaration of fees and costs.” (Id.)
Pursuant to the Court’s Order, counsel for Plaintiff filed the instant declaration on March
30, 2021. (Dkt. 67.) Defendant filed an opposition on April 13, 2021 claiming that Plaintiff’s
proposed fees were unreasonable and unsubstantiated. (Dkt. 81.) Plaintiff filed a reply on April
23, 2021 (Dkt. 91).
In granting an award of attorneys’ fees, the court must determine the lodestar figure by
multiplying the reasonable number of expended hours times the reasonable rate. Robinson v.
Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 560 F.3d 235, 243 (4th Cir. 2009); Grissom v. Mills Corp., 549 F.3d
313, 320 (4th Cir. 2008). Deciding what is “reasonable” is within the district court’s discretion,
but must be guided by the following twelve factors:
(1) the time and labor expended; (2) the novelty and difficulty of the questions
raised; (3) the skill required to properly perform the legal services rendered; (4)
the attorney's opportunity costs in pressing the instant litigation; (5) the customary
fee for like work; (6) the attorney's expectations at the outset of the litigation; (7)
the time limitations imposed by the client or circumstances; (8) the amount in
controversy and the results obtained; (9) the experience, reputation and ability of
the attorney; (10) the undesirability of the case within the legal community in
which the suit arose; (11) the nature and length of the professional relationship
between attorney and client; and (12) attorneys' fees awards in similar cases.
Robinson, 560 F.3d at 243-44. The Court finds that the first, fifth, and ninth factors are those
most pertinent here.
First, the Court will address the time and labor expended on the matter. Three attorneys
and a paralegal at Foley & Lardner LLP spent a total of 43.45 hours in preparing the motion to
compel. (Dkt. 67 at 4.) A breakdown of the hours and proposed attorneys’ fees are as follows:
Attorney or Staff
Eileen Ridley, Partner
Gail Lancto, Paralegal
The Court has reviewed counsel for Plaintiff’s declaration and descriptions of the work
performed. (Id. at 3.) Upon review, the Court finds that the hours expended and work performed
are entirely reasonable. The work included (1) researching, drafting, and revising the motion and
reply memorandum; (2) analyzing Defendant’s opposition memorandum; and (3) preparing for
and attending the hearing on the motion. (Id.) These actions are precisely what the Court expects
counsel to undertake in the process of filing a motion to compel and presenting relevant updates
to the Court.
Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s 43.45 hours spent on its motion to compel is excessive.
(Dkt. 81 at 8.) The Court does not agree and finds the amount of time spent on this complex
discovery motion reasonable.
Additionally, Defendant claims Plaintiff cannot recover for the claimed work because
Plaintiff did not list a meet and confer in its declaration, and because Plaintiff has not submitted
its billing records. (See Dkt. 81 at 2-3, 6-8.) As explained above, the Court ordered Plaintiff to
submit the instant fee petition upon granting its motion to compel. (See Dkt. 66.) The parties
already litigated the issue of a meet and confer on this motion in their pleadings and at the
hearing. And, although the Court agrees that billing records would have been a preferred exhibit
to Plaintiff’s declaration, Plaintiff has adequately and reasonably described the fees to which it is
Next, the fifth factor requires the Court to look at customary fees in like work. To aid in
this analysis, the Court considers the Vienna Metro matrix, which this Court has consistently
used in determining customary rates for Northern Virginia attorneys. JK Moving & Storage, Inc.
v. Winmar Constr., Inc., No. 1:17-cv-1213 (CMH/TCB), 2018 WL 4365573, at *3 (E.D. Va.
June 20, 2018) (citing Vienna Metro LLC v. Pulte Home Corp., No. 1:10-cv-502, Dkt. 263 (E.D.
Va. Aug. 24, 2011). The Vienna Metro matrix provides for fees as follows:
20+ years (Ms. Ridley)
8-10 years (Ms. Champaign)
1-3 years (Ms. Inclan)
Paralegals (Ms. Lancto)
Here, comparing the attorneys’ relevant billing rates $1,100.00-$1,180.00 (Ms. Ridley),
$720.00-$775.00 (Ms. Champaign), $395.00-$440.00 (Ms. Inclan), and $340.00 (Ms. Lancto)
per hour, respectively – to the above fee estimations, the requested billing rates sit above each
range, with the exception of Ms. Lancto’s requested rate. Therefore, Plaintiff’s requested rates
are unreasonable because they are in excess of the Vienna Metro Matrix. 1
Considering the reasonable hours expended and the attorneys’ years of experience
explained in Plaintiff’s declaration, the Court finds it appropriate to award fees in the upper
ranges of the Vienna Metro Matrix. Accordingly, the Court awards the following fees:
Attorney or Staff
Finally, the ninth factor – the experience, reputation, and ability of the attorneys – is
relevant here. Plaintiff is represented by Foley & Lardner LLP, an Am Law 100 firm. Ms. Ridley
is a partner at the firm with over 20 years of experience. (Dkt. 91 at 5 n.2.) Ms. Ridley has tried
Defendant’s opposition argues that Plaintiff’s proposed rates are unreasonable because they are
in excess of the United States Attorney’s Office Attorney’s Fee Matrix. (Dkt. 81 at 3-4.)
Although the undersigned agrees with Defendant that Plaintiff’s proposed fees are unreasonable,
the Vienna Metro Matrix is the proper measure of fees here. Plaintiff’s reply memorandum
acknowledges that “the Court typically applies the Vienna Metro Matrix to fee requests and
[Plaintiff] is willing to accept the higher end of those rates here[.]” (Dkt. 91 at 5.)
over 40 cases and has significant experience in complex commercial litigation matters in the
high-tech, oil and gas, telecommunications, construction, insurance, and health care industries.
(Dkt. 67-3.) Ms. Champaign is a senior counsel with 10 years of experience in commercial
litigation, securities litigation, product liability defense, antitrust, and consumer finance matters.
(Id.) Finally, Ms. Inclan is a litigation associate with a year of experience in litigation at the law
firm. (Dkt. 91 at 5 n.2.; Dkt. 67-3.) As this is a contract dispute over an agreement to provide
software services, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s attorneys’ experience and ability support an
award of reasonable fees.
In sum, upon consideration of the relevant factors, the Court finds that $22,505.50 is an
appropriate award of attorneys’ fees in this matter.
It is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Declaration (Dkt. 67) is GRANTED IN PART.
Defendant shall pay Plaintiff’s reasonable fees of $22,505.50 within twenty (20) days of the date
of this Order.
ENTERED this 27th day of April, 2021.
THERESA CARROLL BUCHANAN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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