United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
UNITED SUPREME COUNCIL, 33 DEGREE OF THE ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE OF FREEMASONRY, PRINCE HALL AFFILIATION, SOUTHERN JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
UNITED SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE ANCIENT ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE FOR THE 33 DEGREE OF FREEMASONRY, SOUTHERN JURISDICTION, PRINCE HALL AFFILIATED, ETAL., Defendants.
Ivan D. Davis Judges
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
O'Grady United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Attorneys' Fees and Expenses (Dkt. 355). On January 17,
2019, the Court determined that Defendants are entitled to
attorneys' fees and expenses in this matter and ordered
Defendants to file documentation supporting their requested
award amount. See Dkt. 381. Briefing for the
appropriate award is complete, and the issue is now ripe for
resolution. For the reasons stated below, and for good
cause shown, the Court awards $245, 040.40 in attorneys'
fees and $13, 424.98 in costs, plus interest accruing from
the date of this Order.
shaping an award of attorney's fees, the Court "must
first determine a lodestar figure by multiplying the number
of reasonable hours expended times a reasonable rate."
Robinson v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 560 F.3d 235,
243 (4th Cir. 2009). To do this, the Court
considers the twelve factors set forth in Johnson v.
Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714 (5th Cir.
(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.
Id. at 243-44 (quoting Barber v. Kimbrell's
Inc., 577 F.2d 216, 226 n.28 (4th Cir. 1978)). Although
each factor is persuasive, the Court need not consider each
factor individually because they all are "subsumed"
into an analysis of what constitutes a reasonable rate and
number of hours expended. Smith v. Loudoun Cty. Pub.
Sch., 2017 WL 176510, at *2 (E.D. Va. Jan. 17, 2017).
seek an award of attorneys' fees in two amounts. First,
Defendants seek an award of 990.1 hours of work billed at
$260 per hour for work performed by their primary attorneys
at the Dozier Law Firm PLLC. Second, Defendants seek $13,
357.00 in fees for contract attorneys employed to conduct
document review at a rate of $46/hour for reviewers and
$80/hour for project managers.
reasonable rates for attorneys' fees are determined based
on the "prevailing market rates in the relevant
community factoring in any required skill or
experience." Burke v. Mattis, 315 F.Supp.3d
907, 913 (E.D. Va. 2018). This Court follows the Vienna
Metro Matrix as a guide for reasonable rates in Northern
Defendants' attorneys at the Dozier Law Firm PLLC billed
at a rate of $260 per hour. Plaintiffs do not challenge the
reasonableness of these rates. Defendants have also provided
a persuasive affidavit from a local attorney, Craig Reilly,
attesting that the requested rates are reasonable, if not
under-compensatory, in this Court's community for
attorneys with similar experience performing similar work.
The Court also finds that the requested rates are reasonable
under the Vienna Metro Matrix and the
Johnson factors. In particular, the Court finds that
the requested rate is exceptionally reasonable given the
subject matter of this case (factors 2 and 3),
Defendants' attorneys' inability to work on other
matters or take on new clients given the demands and timeline
of this case and the firm's late retention and small size
(factors 1, 4, and 7), the customary fee for like work
(factor 5), the skill and experience of the attorneys (factor
9), and the undesirability of the case among other lawyers in
the community (factor 10). Accordingly, the Court will award
the $260 hourly rate without reductions for the Dozier Law
Court also finds that the $46/hour and $80/hour rates charged
by the contract attorneys conducting document review were
reasonable in light of the Johnson factors and Craig
seek attorneys' fees for 990.1 hours worked by the Dozier
Law Firm. The Court finds that the vast majority of the
requested hours are reasonable, but nevertheless ...