United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Michael S. Nachmanoff United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for
Attorney's Fees and Costs (Dkt. No. 63). Plaintiffs
request an award of attorney's fees and costs pursuant to
the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, and the terms of the parties' Settlement
Agreement. Pls.' Mem. in Supp. 2 (Dkt. No. 64). For the
reasons that follow, Plaintiffs' Motion is granted.
Roberto Claros, Jose Claros, Fredy Zamorano, Osbaldo Lopez,
Hector Andrade, and Mario Herrera Macuran were employees of
Defendants' residential construction and remodeling
business. Am. Compl. 3, 12 (Dkt. No. 5). On April 27, 2016,
Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint against all Defendants
for alleged violations of the minimum wage and overtime
compensation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 206 and 207,
respectively. Id. at 13. Plaintiffs also alleged
that Defendant Sweet Home Improvements, Inc. breached the
terms of their employment contract under Virginia law.
Id. at 13-15. Plaintiffs were represented by
attorneys Nicholas Marritz and Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg.
settled this matter with Plaintiffs Fredy Zamorano, Osbaldo
Lopez, and Mario Herrera Macuran (“Settling
Plaintiffs”). See Ex. A (Dkt. No. 38-1); Order
(Dkt. No. 42). Plaintiffs Jose Claros, Roberto Claros, and
Hector Andrade (“Non-settling Plaintiffs”) moved
for summary judgment, and on October 14, 2016, the Court
granted their Motion for Summary Judgment. See
Pls.' Mot. for Summ. J. (Dkt. No. 51); Pls.' Mem. in
Supp. (Dkt. No. 52); Order (Dkt. No. 59). Pursuant to the
Court's Order, the Clerk's Office entered judgment in
favor of the Non-settling Plaintiffs and against Defendants.
See Clerk's J. (Dkt. Nos. 60, 61).
October 25, 2016, all Plaintiffs moved for an award of
attorney's fees and costs on three separate grounds: the
FLSA, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the terms of
the Settling Plaintiffs' Settlement Agreement.
See Pls.' Mot. (Dkt. No. 63); Pls.' Mem. in
Supp. (Dkt. No. 64). All Plaintiffs waived oral argument on
the Motion. See Notice of Waiver of Hr'g (Dkt.
of reasonable attorney's fees to be paid by the employer
to the prevailing employee(s) is mandatory in FLSA cases, but
the amount is within the sound discretion of the court.
See 29 U.S.C. § 216(b); Burnley v.
Short, 730 F.2d 136, 141 (4th Cir. 1984) (citations
omitted). The amount of attorney's fees is determined by
“multiplying the number of hours reasonably expended by
a reasonable hourly rate.” Cab Siquic v. Star
Forestry, LLC, No. 3:13CV43, 2016 WL 1650800, at *2
(W.D. Va. Apr. 22, 2016) (citation omitted). Reasonableness
is determined by considering the twelve factors enumerated in
Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, Inc.,
488 F.2d 714 (5th Cir. 1974):
(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 v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 560 F.3d 235,
243-44 (4th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). Above all, the
inquiry rests on whether the hours worked are reasonable, and
not “excessive, redundant, or otherwise
unnecessary.” Cab Siquic, 2016 WL 1650800, at
*2 (quoting Travis v. Prime Lending, No. 3:07CV65,
2008 WL 2397330, at *4 (W.D. Va. June 12, 2008)). Plaintiffs
bear the burden of establishing the reasonableness of the
fees and costs they seek by submitting attorney affidavits
and specific evidence of the prevailing market rates in the
jurisdiction. Jackson v. Estelle Place, LLC, No.
1:08CV984(LMB-TRJ), 2009 WL 1321506, at *2 (E.D. Va. May 8,
2009), aff'd sub nom. Jackson v. Estelle's Place,
LLC, 391 F. App'x 239 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Plyler v. Evatt, 902 F.2d 273, 277 (4th Cir.1990)).
Non-settling Plaintiffs are the prevailing party pursuant to
the Court's entry of summary judgment in their favor.
See Order (Dkt. No. 59). The Non-settling Plaintiffs
seek an award of $12, 480.00 in attorney's fees for 39
hours worked at a rate of $320 per hour. Ex. A (Dkt. No.
64-1). In support of their fee request, the Non-settling
Plaintiffs submit a declaration by attorney Nicholas Marritz
with a chart of attorney's fees and costs in this case,
as well as the market rate in other cases in this Court.
Id. Mr. Marritz states that “in the exercise
of billing discretion, ” he eliminated certain time
entries, and his co-counsel, Mr. Sandoval-Moshenberg, is not
billing for time spent on this case. Id. ¶ 9.
Applying the relevant Johnson factors, the
undersigned finds that the requested amount of attorney's
fees is reasonable. See Cab Siquic, 2016 WL 1650800,
at *2. The fee rate is consistent with the rate the Court
approved in this case and is also consistent with the rate in
similar FLSA cases. See Ex. A ¶¶ 7, 8
(Dkt. No. 64-1); see also Kennedy v. A Touch of Patience
Shared Hous., Inc., 779 F.Supp.2d 516, 526 (E.D. Va.
2011) (finding attorney billing rate of $350/hour
reasonable). Accordingly, the Court will grant the
Non-settling Plaintiffs' request for attorney's fees
in the amount of $12, 480.00.