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Daniel & Max LLC v. Bab Holding Company, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

August 20, 2019

DANIEL & MAX, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
BAB HOLDING COMPANY, LLC, Defendant,

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          THE HONORABLE GREGORY J. FOURATT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs [ECF 25] (“Motion”). The Motion is fully briefed. See ECFs 26-28. After careful consideration of the pertinent law and the briefing, the Court will GRANT the Motion and award Plaintiff fees and costs in the amount of $23, 134.67.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On July 3, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff summary judgment on its breach of contract claim against Defendant. See Mem. Op. and Order, ECF 23. The Settlement Agreement at the center of this lawsuit expressly contemplated the award of attorney's fees and costs to the prevailing party in any litigation arising out that agreement. Id. 1 n.1 (citing Compl., ECF 1, Ex. A ¶ 16). Consequently, in addition to awarding summary judgment to Plaintiff, the Court also ordered Plaintiff to file a separate “motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(2).” Id. ECF 23 n.1. Plaintiff complied by filing the instant Motion, in which it seeks attorney's fees ($22, 734.67, including gross receipts tax) and costs ($400.00) in the combined amount of $23, 134.67.

         II. APPLICABLE LAW

         As held by this Court in its Memorandum Opinion and Order, “Florida law governs the Agreement, ” a proposition with which neither party disagrees. ECF 23 at 5; see also Compl. Ex. A ¶ 14 (Choice of Law and Venue Provision); see generally, Resp. Mot. Summ. J.; Resp. Mot. Att'ys Fees.

         Florida courts employ the federal lodestar method in determining reasonable attorney's fees. Fla. Patient's Comp. Fund v. Rowe, 472 So.2d 1145, 1150 n.5 (Fla. 1985) (“These factors are essentially the same as those considered by the federal courts in setting reasonable attorneys' fees.”). Once a “contract triggers a court-awarded fee, the trial court is constrained by Rowe and its progeny in setting a fee that must be reasonable.” First Baptist Church of Cape Coral, Florida, Inc. v. Compass Construction, Inc., 115 So.3d 978, 980-985 (Fla. 2013)).

         The lodestar method requires a court to multiply the number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable hourly rate for the services of the prevailing party's attorney. Rowe, 472 So.2d at 1150-1. In addition, the product of that multiplication, otherwise known as the “lodestar figure, ” may be enhanced where necessary by an appropriate multiplier. Id. Courts must consider the following factors to arrive at the lodestar figure:

(1) The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the question(s) involved, and the skill requisite to properly perform the legal service(s).
(2) The likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer.
(3) The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services.
(4) The amount involved and the results obtained.
(5) The time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances.
(6) The nature and length of the professional relationship ...

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