United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION (GRANTING IN PART MOTION FOR
ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS)
E. Hudson, United States District Judge
an action for unpaid overtime wages and damages under the
Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ("FLSA"), 29
U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq. It is presently
before the Court on Plaintiff Kimberly Haught's
("Plaintiff) Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs.
(ECF No. 12.) For the reasons stated below, the Motion will
be granted, but not to the full extent requested. Plaintiff
will be awarded $6, 991.65 in attorneys' fees and $445.67
November 30, 2016, Plaintiff brought this action against her
former employer, The Wireless Center, Inc.
("Defendant"). (Compl., ECF No. 1.) In her
one-count Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
promoted her to "Manager/Manager in Training" in
order to avoid paying her overtime for the time that she
worked in excess of forty hours per week. (See generally
properly served Defendant on December 2, 2016, and filed a
signed proof of service on December 7, 2016. (ECF No. 3.)
Defendant failed to answer or otherwise respond to the
Complaint within twenty-one days of service, as required by
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(a). Accordingly, at
Plaintiffs request, the Clerk of the Court entered default on
December 30, 2016. (ECF No. 5.) On March 29, 2017, Plaintiff
moved for default judgement, which the Court granted on April
13, 2017. (ECF Nos. 9, 11.) The Court awarded Plaintiff a
judgment of $2, 265.06, consisting of $1, 132.53 in back
wages for 157.5 hours of overtime and an equivalent amount of
filed the instant Motion on May 3, 2017. She requests that
the Court grant her $8, 448.50 in attorneys' fees and
$445.67 in costs, pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §
216(b). Defendant has filed no response to the
prevailing plaintiff in an FLSA action "is entitled to
an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs."
Jackson v. Estelle's Place, LLC, 391 F.App'x
239, 242 (4th Cir. 2010) (unpublished opinion); see
29 U.S.C. § 216(b). The Court has the discretion to
determine what constitutes reasonable attorney's fees.
Lyle v. Food Lion, Inc., 954 F.2d 984, 989 (4th Cir.
1992); see also Robinson v. Equifax Info. Services,
LLC, 560 F.3d 235, 243 (4th Cir. 2009) ("We review
an award of attorney's fees for abuse of discretion.
'Our review of the district court's award is sharply
circumscribed; we have recognized that because a district
court has close and intimate knowledge of the efforts
expended and the value of the services rendered, the fee
award must not be overturned unless it is clearly
wrong.'") (quoting Plyler v. Evatt, 902
F.2d 273, 277-78 (4th Cir. 1990)) (internal citation
determining an award of attorneys' fees, the Court must
first multiply the number of hours reasonably expended by a
reasonable hourly rate. Robinson, 560 F.3d at 243.
This approach, commonly called the lodestar method, generates
a presumptively reasonable fee. Pennsylvania v. Del.
Valley Citizens' Council for Clean Air, 478 U.S.
546, 564 (1986). In determining what constitutes a reasonable
number of hours and billing rate, the Fourth Circuit has
instructed that a district court's discretion should 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 out-set 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 lodestar provides a presumptively reasonable fee, its
calculation "does not end the inquiry."
Lyle, 954 F.2d at 989 (quoting Del. Valley
Citizens' Council, 478 U.S. at 565). The district
court has discretion to adjust the fee upward or downward as
it deems appropriate, so long as it is "done on a
principled basis, clearly explained by the court."
Id. For example, the Court "should subtract
fees for hours spent on unsuccessful claims unrelated to