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Moreno v. Heideman & Associates

United States District Court, D. Utah

January 4, 2019

ALEX MORENO and ERIKA MIRANDA, Plaintiffs,
v.
HEIDEMAN & ASSOCIATES, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR ADJUDICATION OF ATTORNEY'S FEES

          ROBERT J. SHELBY UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiffs Alex Moreno and Erika Miranda sued Defendant Heideman & Associates (Heideman) for alleged violations of the Federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.[1] Heideman made an offer of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68. In relevant part, that offer provided,

Defendant Heideman & Associates (“H&A”) hereby offers to allow judgment to be taken against it, and in favor of Plaintiffs, Alex Moreno and Erika Miranda (hereinafter “Plaintiffs”), in the amount of $2, 000.01, plus all reasonable attorneys [sic] fees and costs incurred to date, to resolve all claims against it in the above captioned case against H&A.[2]

         Moreno and Miranda accepted the offer.[3] But a dispute later arose over the amount representing a reasonable attorney's fee.[4] Before the court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Adjudication of Attorney's Fees.[5]

         Plaintiffs argue they are entitled to an award in the amount of all reasonable attorney's fees they incurred as of the date of the Rule 68 offer plus all reasonable attorney's fees they incurred for “the collection of the judgment.”[6] But the Rule 68 offer specifically provided for the recovery only of “reasonable attorneys [sic] fees and costs incurred to date.” Consistent with the plain language of the Rule 68 offer, the court will award an amount equal to the reasonable attorney's fees Moreno and Miranda incurred as of the date of the Rule 68 offer: October 23, 2018.[7]

         After careful review of the accounting records submitted, [8] and using a lodestar method that multiplies reasonable local hourly rates by the number of hours an attorney would have reasonably spent on the litigation, the court finds the reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred by Moreno and Miranda as of October 23, 2018 is $4, 116.90.

         To resolve the Motion for Adjudication of Attorney's Fees, as well as related Motions before it, the court:

- GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Moreno's and Miranda's Motion for Adjudication of Attorney's Fees.[9]
- DIRECTS the clerk of court to enter judgment in favor of Moreno and Miranda in the amount of $6, 116.91.
- DENIES Heideman's Motion to Enforce Release of Claims/Objection to Entry of Judgment[10] and Cross Motion for Attorney's Fees.[11]
- DIRECTS the clerk of court to close this case.

         SO ORDERED.

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