United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
A. KIMBALL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on Plaintiff Aaron Jensen's
Supplemental Motion for Attorney Fees. On July 19, 2017, Mr.
Jensen filed a motion for attorney's fees. (Dkt. No.
366). On October 13, 2017, the court granted Mr. Jensen's
motion in part by awarding the following attorneys' fees:
$147, 402 for Ms. Hollingsworth; $44, 210.45 for Ms. Beaton;
$82, 887.97 for Ms. Leonard; $26, 620 for Mr. Hubbard; and
$6, 403.75 for Strindberg & Scholnick, LLC. (Dkt. No.
407). The court awarded Mr. Jensen a total of $307, 524.17 in
attorneys' fees. Id.
Jensen seeks to supplement his prior motion for
attorneys' fees by: (1) requesting fees for Mr.
Jensen's first attorneys in this litigation, Heideman
& Associates; (2) requesting fees for bringing and
responding to the post-trial motions; and (3) asserting that
Ms. Hollingsworth and Ms. Beaton should have been awarded a
higher billable hour rate than what was ordered by the court.
Attorneys' Fees Pertaining to Heideman &
Jensen seeks an additional award of $17, 583.85 for
attorneys' fees billed by Heideman & Associates.
Heideman & Associates initially filed this lawsuit, and
was counsel on the case until January 2015, when
Hollingsworth Law Office replaced the firm as counsel. The
attorneys at Heideman & Associates who worked on this
case and their requested fees are as follows: Tony Jewkes -
law clerk, billed at $95/hour; Justin Heideman - attorney,
$200/hour; Josh Horrocks - attorney, $195/hour; Brad Weber -
attorney, $200/hour; Wendy Poulsen - pearalegal, $95/hour;
Jed Strong - attorney, $185/hour; Christina Cope - paralegal,
$95/hour; James Jackson - law clerk, $95/hour; Catherine
Shrier - legal assistant, $95/hour; Jenn Cole - legal
assistant, $95/hour; and Bri Beck - legal assistant,
$95/hour. The time entries for the hours billed is attached
as Exhibit 1.
Civ. P. 54(d)(2)(B) provides that a motion for attorneys'
fees must “be filed no later than 14 days after the
entry of judgment.” Defendant West Jordan City (WJC)
argues that the motion for attorneys' fees as it relates
to Heideman & Associates is untimely because Mr. Jensen
failed to include these fees in his initial motion.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(a) defines “Judgment” as
“any order from which an appeal lies.” The
purpose of the 14 day provision “is to assure that the
opposing party is informed of the claim before the time for
appeal has elapsed.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)
Advisory Committee's Notes.
Jensen's reply to his original motion for attorneys'
fees he states that he “intends to supplement his
initial motion for fees when final judgment is entered, to
include fees due to his original attorney in this matter,
Justin Heideman…, and fees associated with the
post-judgment pleadings.” (Reply in Support of
Plaintiff's Motion for Attorneys' Fees; Dkt. No.
395). Because this supplemental motion was filed within 14
days of the court's order ruling on the post-trial
motions, and because opposing counsel was informed that such
motion would be filed after the disposition of the post-trial
motions, Mr. Jensen's supplementation is timely.
the amount of attorneys' fees to award, WJC argues that
the fees should be adjusted. Specifically, WJC argues that
several of the time entries involve tasks that are
administrative in nature, the fees charged have not been
demonstrated to be reasonable, and several of the time
entries are so vague that it is impossible to determine what
task was being performed.
prevailing party in a case “bear[s] the burden
‘to prove and establish the reasonableness of each
dollar, each hour, above zero.” David C. v.
Leavitt, 900 F.Supp. 1547, 1555 (D. Utah 1995) (quoting
Mares v. Credit Bureau of Raton, 801 F.2d 1197, 1219
(10th Cir. 1986)). “[T]he first step in calculating fee
awards is to determine the number of hours reasonably spent
by counsel for the party seeking the fees.” Ramos
v. Lamm, 713 F.2d 546, 553 (10th Cir. 1983). “The
district court must determine not just the actual hours
expended by counsel, by which of those hours were reasonably
expended in the litigation.” Id. Although
plaintiff's counsel “is not required to record in
great detail how each minute of his time was expended,
” plaintiff's counsel should at least
“identify the general subject matter of his time
expenditures.” Hensley, 461 U.S. at 437 n.12.
“When examining the adequacy of an attorney's
billing entries, we are primarily concerned with the district
court's ability to evaluate the propriety of the fee
request based on the specific billing entries.”
Flitton v. Primary Residential Mortg., Inc., 614
F.3d 1173, 1178 (10th Cir. 2010).
argues that many of the time entries by Heideman &
Associates are administrative in nature and therefore should
be excluded. WJC provides no support for its argument that
fees billed by legal assistants are not compensable. The 10th
Circuit has made clear that services by non-lawyers are
compensable, subject to the same factors as time billed by
attorneys. Case v. Unified School Dist. No. 233, Johnson
County, 157 F.3d 1243, 1249 (10th Cir. 1998). Mr. Jensen
may therefore seek reasonable fees for services billed by
also argues that Jensen has failed to demonstrate that the
fees charged by members of Heideman & Associates are
reasonable, however, WJC does not specifically state which
rates it believes should be adjusted and by how much. After
careful review of the billable rates, the court determines
that the rates charged by Heideman & Associates are
reasonable and therefore recoverable.
WJC also argues that billing entries for costs, such as for
filing fees and process service expenses are not proper in a
motion for attorneys' fees. WJC highlighted the billing
entries that it believed were improper. Mr. Jensen concedes
that it should not recover the costs for the filing fee
($350) and service of the summons ($55) through this motion.
An award of attorneys' fees for the work completed by
Heideman & Associates is therefore awarded in the amount
of $17, 178.85.
Attorneys' Fees Relating to the ...