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Thornton v. Barrett

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 16, 2019

JOHN F. THORNTON, Plaintiff
v.
KENNETH J. and DEANNA L. BARRETT, a married couple residing in Michigan, LUKINS & ANNIS, P.S., a Washington Professional Services Corporation, MICHAEL SCHMIDT, an individual residing in Idaho, TERRI BOYD-DAVIS, a married woman residing in Idaho, BONNER COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, a governmental agency, DARYL WHEELER, in his capacity as Bonner County Sheriff, SALLY MITCHELL, in her capacity as Bonner County Deputy Sheriff, and LEANNE BANKSON, in her capacity as Bonner County Deputy Sheriff, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          David C. Nye Chief U.S. District Court Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On March 27, 2019, this Court issued its Memorandum Decision and Order (Dkt. 24) wherein it ordered that Defendants Kenneth and Deanna Barrett (hereinafter the “Barretts”) and Defendants Bonner County Sheriff's Department, Daryl Wheeler, Sally Mitchell and Leanne Bankson (hereinafter “State Defendants”) are entitled to an award of attorneys' fees and costs under Idaho Code section 12-121.

         On April 15, 2019, the Barretts filed their “Motion and Memorandum in Support of Award of Costs and Attorney Fees, ” requesting $11, 147.25 in attorneys' fees incurred in obtaining a dismissal of this action. Dkt. 25. On April 26, 2019, the State Defendants filed their “Motion for Prevailing Party Attorneys' Fees, ” seeking $11, 687.00 in fees. Dkt. 26. Plaintiff John F. Thornton (“Mr. Thornton”) objected in part to both motions. Dkt. 28; Dkt. 29. In the interest of avoiding delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will decide the Motions on the record without a hearing. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1)(B).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54 governs the award of attorneys' fees and provides as follows:

(A) Claim to Be by Motion. A claim for attorney's fees and related nontaxable expenses must be made by motion unless the substantive law requires those fees to be proved at trial as an element of damages.
(B) Timing and Contents of the Motion. Unless a statute or a court order provides otherwise, the motion must:
(i) be filed no later than 14 days after the entry of judgment;
(ii) specify the judgment and the statute, rule, or other grounds entitling the movant to the award;
(iii) state the amount sought or provide a fair estimate of it; and
(iv) disclose, if the court so orders, the terms of any agreement about fees for the services for which the claim is made.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2) (italics in original).

         After determining that a basis exists for a proper award of attorney fees, the Court must calculate a reasonable fee award. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). Generally, the Court utilizes the “lodestar figure, ” which multiplies the number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable hourly rate. Id.; see also Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin., Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 977 (9th Cir. 2008). “Although in most cases, the lodestar figure is presumptively a reasonable fee award, the district court may, if circumstances warrant, adjust the lodestar ...


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