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Sells v. Oracle Corporations

United States District Court, D. Oregon

June 5, 2015

MARY E. SELLS, Plaintiff,
v.
ORACLE CORPORATIONS and ORACLE AMERICA, INC., also known as Oracle USA, Inc., Defendants.

BETH ANN CREIGHTON, JESSICA ASHLEE ALBIES, Creighton & Rose, P.C., Portland, OR, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

VICTOR JOSEPH KISCH, KAREN L. O'CONNOR, Stoel Rives, LLP, Portland, OR, Attorneys for Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

ANNA J. BROWN, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Supplemental Motion (#44) for Attorney Fees. For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Plaintiff's Motion and AWARDS to Plaintiff attorneys' fees in the amount of $1, 250.00.

BACKGROUND

On January 29, 2015, an arbitrator issued an award to Plaintiff in the amount of $247, 466.16 (plus interest) on Plaintiff's employment-discrimination claims. The following Monday, February 2, 2015, Plaintiff's counsel emailed Defendants' counsel to advise Defendants that Plaintiff would move to convert the arbitration award into a judgment if Plaintiff did not receive payment by Friday, February 6, 2015. Defendants' counsel did not immediately respond to that email.

On Thursday, February 5, 2015, Plaintiff's counsel called counsel for Defendants to inquire about payment. The parties dispute whether and when Defendants' counsel responded to this inquiry. Defendants contend their counsel informed Plaintiff's counsel that payment was forthcoming and that it was not necessary to file a motion to convert the arbitration award to a judgment. Plaintiff contends, in turn, that Defendants' counsel did not, in fact, assure her that payment was forthcoming.

On February 9, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Motion (#35) for Judgment Confirming Arbitration Award. That same day Defendants' counsel emailed Plaintiff's counsel to advise that even though Defendants did not find a motion to convert the arbitration award to a judgment was necessary, Defendants did not object to such a motion. The next day (February 10, 2015), Plaintiff's counsel emailed to inquire why Defendants did not think the motion was necessary in light of the fact that Defendants had not advised Plaintiff when she would receive payment.

On February 11, 2015, Defendants' counsel requested Plaintiff's counsel to complete a W-9 form in preparation for Defendants making their payment to Plaintiff.

On February 18, 2015, Defendants tendered full payment of the amount owed under the arbitration award.

On February 25, 2015, the Court entered a Judgment and Order (#41) Confirming Arbitration Award that included the sums awarded under the arbitration award as well as $800 in attorneys' fees for preparation and filing of the Motion for Judgment Confirming Arbitration Award. That same day Defendants' counsel emailed the Court to request removal of the $800 in attorneys' fees from the Order and Judgment. Plaintiff objected to Defendants' request.

The Court held a hearing on March 16, 2015, at which the Court concluded the $800 would remain part of the Judgment unless and until any party elected to file a formal motion to amend the Judgment.

On March 24, 2015, Defendants sent to Plaintiff's counsel a check for $800 purporting to be for "final attorneys' fees and costs." Because Plaintiff's counsel believed she incurred an additional $400 in attorneys' fees as a result of attending the March 16, 2015, hearing, however, Plaintiff's counsel returned the check out of a concern that accepting the payment would foreclose Plaintiff's ability to seek additional attorneys' fees.

Accordingly, on March 26, 2015, Plaintiff filed the Supplemental Motion for Attorney Fees in which she initially sought $2, 280.00 in attorneys' fees that included $400 in attorneys' fees incurred for the one hour that Plaintiff's counsel spent attending the March 16, 2015, hearing (including $240.00 for 0.6 hours expended walking to and from the hearing); $1, 080 in attorneys' fees to compensate Plaintiff's counsel for 2.7 hours expended for initial preparation of this Motion; $640.00 for 1.6 hours expended researching the principles of "accord and ...


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