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Accuardi v. Fredericks

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division

April 22, 2014

F. ANTONE ACCUARDI, Plaintiff,
v.
BRAD FREDERICKS, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

JANICE M. STEWART, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, F. Antone Accuardi ("Accuardi"), an Oregon attorney, filed this action against defendant, Brad Fredericks ("Fredericks") and several unidentified Internet users, for posting false statements about Accuardi on Fredericks's Blog, The Telecom Compliance News Press, and other websites. Based on those false statements, he alleged three claims under Oregon law for placing him in a false light, intentionally inflicting emotional distress, and intentionally interfering with economic relations. In response, Fredericks filed an Amended Special Motion to Strike (docket #10) all claims pursuant to Oregon's Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute, ORS 31.150-.155. This court granted that motion and entered a Judgment dismissing this action with prejudice (docket # 41).

Pursuant to ORS 31.152(3), Fredericks has now filed a Motion for Attorney Fees (docket #42) seeking attorney fees of $39, 282.50, supplemental attorney fees of $2, 075.00, a multiplier of two applied to the attorney fees, and costs of $1, 027.30, for a total award of $83, 742.30. For the reasons set forth below, that motion is granted in the reduced sum of $41, 887.30.

I. Prevailing Party

In a diversity case, the availability and amount of attorney fees to be awarded is determined by state law. Kern Oil & Ref. Co. v. Tenneco Oil Co., 792 F.2d 1380, 1387 (9th Cir 1986). ORS 31.152(3) provides that "[a] defendant who prevails on a special motion to strike made under ORS 31.150 shall be awarded reasonable attorney fees and costs." See also Page v. Parsons, 249 Or.App. 445, 463, 277 P.2d 609, 620 (2012) ("Thus, the statute makes an attorney fee award mandatory in a case such as this, where a defendant prevails on a special motion to strike."). As the prevailing defendant, Fredericks is entitled to an award of his reasonable attorney fees and costs.

In Oregon, the amount of fees awarded is determined by an analysis of the factors listed in ORS 20.075(1) and (2). Pursuant to ORS 20.075(1), the court must consider:

(a) The conduct of the parties in the transactions or occurrences that gave rise to the litigation, including any conduct of a party that was reckless, willful, malicious, in bad faith or illegal.
(b) The objective reasonableness of the claims and defenses asserted by the parties.
(c) The extent to which an award of an attorney fee in the case would deter others from asserting good faith claims or defenses in similar cases.
(d) The extent to which an award of an attorney fee in the case would deter others from asserting meritless claims and defenses.
(e) The objective reasonableness of the parties and the diligence of the parties and their attorneys during the proceedings.
(f) The objective reasonableness of the parties and the diligence of the parties in pursuing settlement of the dispute.
(g) The amount that the court has awarded as a prevailing party fee under ORS 20.190.
(h) Such other factors as the court may consider appropriate under the ...

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