United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion
for Attorney's Fees and Costs, filed September 15, 2017.
Doc. 113. Plaintiff seeks $6, 743.81 in attorney's fees
and $1, 553.16 in costs in connection with the additional
discovery the Court allowed Plaintiff to conduct in this
matter. See Doc. 93. The Court previously ordered
that “Defendants shall be responsible for paying
reasonable fees and costs associated with this additional
discovery.” Id. at 2.
September 29, 2017, Defendants filed a response in opposition
to Plaintiff's motion. Doc. 118. Although Defendants do
not contest that Plaintiff is entitled to fees and costs,
they ask the Court to reduce the amount of fees and costs to
be awarded to Plaintiff. Defendants also request additional
time for the payment of the fees and costs. The Court will
grant Plaintiff's motion in part and deny it in part, as
set forth more fully below.
Deposition of Derek Williams
incorrectly assert that both of Plaintiff's attorneys are
seeking compensation for attending and taking the deposition
of Derek Williams. Doc. 118 at 2. As Plaintiff points out,
Mr. Baker's affidavit shows that he did not charge for
the time he spent attending this deposition. See
Adam Baker Aff., Doc. 113-2. Mr. Coyte, who took this
deposition, is the only attorney for Plaintiff to have
charged for this particular deposition. See Matthew
Coyte Aff., Doc. 113-1. Therefore, the Court will not reduce
the requested fees on this basis.
Drafting of Notices of Deposition
contend that the requested fees should be reduced by 1 hour
for the amount of time Mr. Baker billed for drafting notices
of deposition because this “task is clerical in nature
and should be absorbed into office overhead or billed at a
lower rate.” Doc. 118 at 2. In his reply, Plaintiff
indicates he will not contest that the time spent drafting
these notices is not billable. Doc. 119 at 1. However, he
contends that Mr. Baker's billable hours should only be
reduced by 30 minutes rather than 1 hour because Mr. Baker
spent some of this time emailing and calling opposing counsel
to schedule depositions. Id. at 1-2. Plaintiff fails
to explain how the time spent to schedule the depositions is
a legal task that is eligible for billing at an
attorney's hourly rate. See Missouri v. Jenkins,
491 U.S. 274, 288 n.10 (1989) (indicating that tasks that do
not require the legal skill of an attorney do not justify
compensation at an attorney's hourly rate). In addition,
these items were block billed and it is therefore difficult
for the Court to discern how much time was expended to
schedule depositions as opposed to drafting notices of
depositions. Therefore, the Court finds it appropriate to
reduce Mr. Baker's billable hours by 1 hour.
Reviewing Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Motion
for Attorney's Fees and Drafting of Plaintiff's
reply, Plaintiff asserts that, as compensation for attorney
time expended reviewing Defendants' response to his
motion and drafting his reply, 0.70 billable hours should be
added to the fees and costs requested in his original motion.
As set forth above, at least some of Defendants'
arguments were meritorious. As a result, it is appropriate
for Plaintiff to bear the fees and costs associated with
reviewing Defendants' response and drafting his reply.
The Court therefore declines to add these fees to the amount
Plaintiff originally requested.
Time for Payment
request that the Court grant a time period of 45 days for
payment of attorney's fees and costs. Doc. 118 at 3. The
Court will grant this request and order that the payment be
made no later than 45 days after entry of this Order.
the Court shall award Plaintiff the following amount in
attorney's fees and costs:
Attorney's Fees for Mr. Coyte:
$ 2, 030.00
Attorney's Fees for Mr. Baker:
$ 3, 915.00 [Requested amount of $4215 less $300 (1
$ 1, 553.16
Amount to be determined
amounts listed above for attorney's fees do not include
payment of New Mexico gross receipts tax because the
affidavits submitted by Plaintiffs counsel differ as to the
rate of the tax (7.3125% versus 8.3125%). See Doc.
113-1, Doc. 113-2. The Court directs Plaintiffs counsel to
verify the amount to be charged for gross receipts tax and to
notify Defendants within five days of entry of this Order.
Should a dispute arise regarding the appropriate amount of