United States District Court, D. New Mexico
ORDER AWARDING PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY'S FEES
Fashing United States Magistrate Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on the Affidavit of Michael J.
Howell in Support of the Court's Order Granting
Attorney's Fees and Costs, filed November 30, 2018. Doc.
287. Defendants NEXTracker, Marco Garcia, Daniel S. Shugar,
Scott Graybeal, and Flextronics International U.S.A., Inc.,
filed their response to the affidavit on December 14, 2018.
Doc. 307. The Court, having read the affidavit and response,
and being fully advised, finds that plaintiff Array
Technologies, Inc.'s request for attorney's fees is
well taken in part and will GRANT it in part and DENY it in
October 25, 2018, plaintiff Array Technologies, Inc.
(“ATI”) moved to compel defendant's
compliance with a prior order of this Court. Doc. 238. The
court held an in-person hearing on that motion and another
motion on November 20, 2018. Docs. 274, 279. At the hearing,
the Court ordered ATI's counsel to submit an affidavit of
his fees and expenses for having to bring the motion relating
to substantive emails and Mitchell emails. Doc. 279 at 59.
ATI timely filed its affidavit for costs and fees, and
defendants timely filed their objections.
affidavit, plaintiff requests $44, 528.00. in attorney's
fees and $2, 856.00 in costs in connection with its motion to
compel. Doc. 287 at 2. Defendants do not oppose
plaintiff's accounting of its fees and costs. Doc. 307 at
5. Nevertheless, the Court, in its discretion, finds that the
fees and costs requested are excessive and will reduce them
Rule of Civil Procedure 37 mandates that if the Court grants
a motion to compel, “the court must, after giving an
opportunity to be heard, require the party . . . whose
conduct necessitated the motion . . . to pay the movant's
reasonable expenses incurred in making the motion, including
attorney's fees.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A). In this
case, there is no dispute that plaintiff is entitled to its
reasonable expenses incurred in bringing its motion to
compel. “To determine the reasonableness of a fee
request, a court must begin by calculating the so-called
‘lodestar amount' of a fee, and a claimant is
entitled to the presumption that this lodestar amount
reflects a ‘reasonable' fee.” Robinson v.
City of Edmond, 160 F.3d 1275, 1281 (10th Cir. 1998).
“The lodestar calculation is the product of the number
of attorney hours ‘reasonably expended' and a
‘reasonable hourly rate.'” Id.
Counsel for the party claiming the fees has the burden of
establishing entitlement to an award and documenting the
appropriate hours expended and hourly rates. Case,
157 F.3d at 1249-50. The Court must examine the records to
determine whether specific tasks are properly chargeable and
if the hours expended on each chargeable task are reasonable.
Id. at 1250. “The prevailing party must make a
good-faith effort to exclude from a fee request hours that
are excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary.”
Jane L. v. Bangerter, 61 F.3d 1505, 1510 (10th Cir.
1995) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Moreover, the hourly rates requested by counsel must reflect
the prevailing market rates in the community. Id.
Finally, certain factors may cause the court to adjust a fee
upward or downward, “including the important factor of
the ‘results obtained.'” Hensley,
461 U.S. at 434.
Court accepts, and defendants do not dispute that the rates
plaintiff's counsel is charging reflect a reasonable
prevailing market rate. The number of hours charged, however,
is excessive and duplicative. First, ATI seeks fees for hours
spent in the meet and confer process prior to filing its
motion to compel. See doc. 287-1 at 2-4. The meet
and confer process is mandated by the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and this district's local rules. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1) (“The motion must include a
certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or
attempted to confer with the person or party failing to make
disclosure or discovery in an effort to obtain it without
court intervention.”); D.N.M.LR-Civ. 7.1(a)
(“Movant must determine whether a motion is opposed,
and a motion that omits recitation of a good-faith request
for concurrence may be summarily denied.”). Time spent
attempting to resolve the discovery dispute without the
Court's intervention is time ATI would have had to spend
whether or not it eventually was required to file a motion to
compel production. For that reason, the Court will reduce
counsel's hours for the time spent in the meet and confer
also requests reimbursement for time that the Court finds
duplicative and, therefore, excessive. The Court notes that
both Ms. Embree and Mr. Howell traveled to Albuquerque to
attend the hearing on the motion to compel. Although Ms.
Embree assisted in preparing the motion, ATI does not explain
why it was necessary for two attorneys to be present at the
hearing itself. Mr. Howell was the only attorney who spoke at
the hearing. See Docs. 274, 279. Accordingly, the
Court will reduce the attorneys' fee and cost bill for
Ms. Embree's time for attending the hearing, including
her travel time and expenses. The Court will reduce the total
attorney's fees by $7, 425.00, which accounts for time
spent in the meet and confer process and Ms. Embree's
time for attending the hearing. The Court will further reduce
ATI's request for costs by $801.85 for Ms. Embree's
travel expenses, for a total reduction in the amount of $8,
THEREFORE ORDERED that ATI's request for attorney's
fees and costs (Doc. 287) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in
part. The Court awards ATI a total of $39, 157.24 in
attorneys' fees and costs. Defendants will tender the
award to ATI no later than July 12, 2019.
 At the hearing, the Court addressed
two motions to compel (Docs. 237 at 238) but awarded fees and
costs only for the motion that addressed substantive emails
and Mitchell emails. Doc. 279 at 59. Defendants object that
the vagueness of the billing entries does not allow the Court
to determine whether the attorney's fees requested by ATI
are fees and expenses specifically for the motion to compel
at issue. Doc. 307 at 3-4. Given that the Court instructed
ATI to apply for attorney's fees and costs only for the
motion regarding substantive emails and Mitchell ...