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Trans-Radial Solutions, LLC v. Burlington Medical, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division

November 15, 2019

BURLINGTON MEDICAL, LLC, et al., Defendants.


          Raymond A. Jackson United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Trans-Radial Solutions, LLC's ("Plaintiff or "TRS") Petition for Attorneys' Fees. ECF No. 87. Fees will be awarded to Plaintiff in accordance with this Order.


         On May 20, 2019, Magistrate Judge Robert J. Krask entered the discovery order that is the genesis of the instant matter. ECF No. 36. On May 22, 2019, Plaintiff propounded its first discovery requests on the Defendants. ECF No. 41-A-F. Pursuant to local rules and the applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, objections to the Plaintiffs discovery requests were due on June 6, 2019, while answers and responses to Plaintiffs discovery requests were due on June 21, 2019. See Local Civ. R. 26(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 34, 36.

         On June 20, 2019, defense counsel contacted opposing counsel requesting an extension until July 5, 2019 to serve both responses and objections, despite the fact that objections were due 14 days earlier and answers and responses were due the next day. ECF No. 41-7. Counsel for each of the parties conferred again on June 24, 2019 and were unable to resolve their discovery disputes. Id. On June 27, 2019, the parties were directed to engage in a process requiring them to report all claims in controversy by July 29, 2019. ECF No. 39. On July 3, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Discovery after not receiving any discovery material from the Defendants. ECF Nos. 40, 41. On July 8, 2019, Plaintiffs supplemented their Motion to Compel Discovery with a Notice regarding its Motion to Compel, explaining that Defendants still had not provided any of the requested discovery material. ECF No. 42. Defendants responded to the Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Discovery on July 18, 2019. ECF No. 49. Plaintiffs replied to Defendant's response on July 23, 2019. ECF No. 50. It is also noted that the parties were unable to agree on the timing of their settlement conference based on their discovery disputes and litigated that issue accordingly. See ECF Nos. 45-47, 51, 52, 57.

         On August 23, 2019, Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Discovery was granted in part and denied in part. ECF No. 66. Relevant to the instant matter, Plaintiffs request for reasonable expenses, including attorneys' fees incurred in briefing their Motion to Compel Discovery, was granted and the parties were directed to confer regarding the expenses associated with the motion. Id. On September 6, 2019, Defendants submitted their Objections to the Order granting Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Discovery. ECF No. 69. On October 1, 2019, the Defendants' Objections to the Order partially granting Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Discovery were overruled. ECF Nos. 84, 86. The parties were subsequently unable to agree on the fees associated with the Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Discovery, so Plaintiffs counsel submitted a Petition for Attorneys' Fees on October 15, 2019. ECF No. 87. In their Petition for Attorneys' Fees, Plaintiff claims expenses of $11, 150. Id. Defendants responded in opposition to the Plaintiffs Petition on October 29, 2019. ECF No. 88. Plaintiff replied to the Defendants' response in opposition on November 4, 2019. ECF No. 91. This matter is now ripe for disposition.


         In calculating an award of attorney's fees, a 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 determine the lodestar figure, courts within the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ("Fourth Circuit") apply the twelve-factor test first set forth in Johnson v. Ga. Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717- 19 (5th Cir. 1974) and adopted in Barber v. Kimbrell's Inc., 511 F.2d 216, 226 (4th Cir. 1978). The Fourth Circuit has summarized the Johnson/Barber factors to include:

(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 the attorney and client; and (12) attorneys' fees awards in similar cases.

Grissom v. The Mills Corp., 549 F.3d 313, 321 (4th Cir. 2008) citing Spell v. McDaniel, 824 F.2d 1380, 1402 n. 18 (4th Cir. 1987).

         After calculation of the lodestar figure, the court should subtract fees for hours spent on claims unrelated to successful ones. Johnson v. City of Aiken, 278 F.3d 333, 337 (4th Cir. 2002). Once the court has subtracted the fees incurred for unsuccessful or unrelated claims, it then awards some percentage of the remaining amount, depending on the degree of success enjoyed by the party entitled to the attorneys' fee award. Id.


         In the instant matter, Plaintiffs counsel claims 35.3 hours (32.7 attorney hours and 2.6 paralegal hours) went into (1) preparation of the original Motion to Compel (ECF Nos. 40, 41); (2) preparation of the Notice Regarding Motion to Compel (ECF No. 42); preparation of the Reply Brief in Support of the Motion to Compel (ECF No. 50); and preparation for the August 23, 2019 hearing on the Motion to Compel and the associated briefings. See ECF No. 66.

         A. Application of the John ...

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