United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING LOGIX'S
MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES, COURT COSTS, AND LITIGATION
N. Parrish, United States District Court Judge
the court is a motion brought by Logix Communications, L.P.
requesting an award of attorney fees, court costs, and
litigation expenses pursuant to a contractual provision.
[Docket 207]. The court DENIES the motion for fees.
entered into a service agreement contract with Stake Center
Locating, Inc. Under the contract, Stake Center would locate
underground utility lines for Logix for a set fee. Stake
Center was required to provide monthly invoices for the
services it provided. The contract contained an attorney fee
provision, which stated: “In the event of any
litigation or other proceedings between the parties
concerning this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be
entitled to the payment by the non-prevailing party of all
its reasonable attorneys' fees, court costs, and
Center provided the agreed upon services for a period of
sixteen months, but failed to submit the required monthly
invoices. Upon discovering its error, Stake Center submitted
a single invoice for the entire period. Logix refused to pay.
Center sued Logix for breach of contract and, alternatively,
for restitution for the uncompensated services as unjust
enrichment. Logix asserted various defenses in its answer,
including that Stake Center's material breach of the
contract excused its obligation to pay for the services
provided. It also asserted a counterclaim for breach of
contract based upon Stake Center's failure to submit
monthly invoices. As damages, Logix asserted that it was
entitled to the difference between the amount billed and the
cost of the same services if they had been billed at a more
reasonable, high-volume rate.
court concluded as a matter of law that Stake Center breached
the contract by failing to submit monthly invoices. The court
further ruled that the question of whether the breach was
material was for the jury to decide.
trial, the jury found that Stake Center's breach was
material, excusing Logix's contractual obligation to pay
for the services Stake Center provided. Logix, therefore,
prevailed on its material breach affirmative defense to Stake
Center's breach of contract claim. But the jury also
found that Stake Center was entitled to relief on its unjust
enrichment claim and awarded it $700, 000 as the reasonable
value of the utility line location services that it provided.
Thus, Stake Center prevailed on its restitution claim.
filed a motion for attorney fees, court costs, and litigation
expenses pursuant to the attorney fee provision of the
contract. It argued that since it succeeded on its material
breach defense to Stake Center's breach of contract
claim, it was the prevailing party under the attorney fee
provision. Logix claimed that it was entitled to $1, 014,
937.80-the entire amount of its attorney fees and expenses
for this litigation. The attorney fee motion was accompanied
by two relevant exhibits: (1) the affidavit of John L.
Grayson accompanied by approximately 600 pages of billing
records documenting $952, 092.42 in attorney fees, court
costs, and litigation expenses and (2) the affidavit of
Rodney R. Parker accompanied by billing records documenting
$62, 845.38 in attorney fees, court costs, and litigation
expenses. The billing records attached to the Grayson
affidavit are so heavily redacted that it is impossible to
tell which time entries are associated with work on
particular claims, counterclaims, or defenses in the suit.
Center opposed the fee motion. It argued that this court
should not award fees or costs because: (1) Logix failed to
allocate its fees and costs between the successful contract
claim, the unsuccessful contract claim, and the unjust
enrichment claim; (2) Logix is not a prevailing party under
the attorney fee provision; and (3) Logix sought and obtained
rescission of the service contract, negating the attorney fee
provision. Stake Center also argued that “reasonable
attorneys' fees” would be no fee or a substantially
reply, Logix argued that it had no obligation to allocate
fees because it was entitled to all of its fees. In the
alternative, it attached a second affidavit of John L.
Grayson that allocated $827, 205.50 of the attorney fees to
the successful breach of contract claim and $35, 011.50 of
the attorney fees to the unjust enrichment claim and work
done pursuing a claim that Stake Center had filed a
fraudulent lien. This second affidavit allocated all of the
$89, 874.42 in claimed costs to the successful contract
claim. Thus, the affidavit attached to the reply brief
allocated over 96% of the requested fees and costs to
Logix's successful affirmative defense.
Center objected to the introduction of new evidence in the
affidavit attached to the reply brief, arguing that any
allocation should have been included with the motion for fees
so that it would have had an opportunity to respond.
Center first argues that the court should deny the motion for
fees due to Logix's failure to allocate its fees and
costs between recoverable claims and nonrecoverable claims.
The court agrees, and therefore does not reach ...