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Great American Insurance Co. v. Jackson

United States District Court, D. Oregon

January 30, 2018

GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, an Ohio corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
EDWARD D. JACKSON, dba JSI Motors, individually and an assumed business name, et al., Defendants

          H. LEE COOK Law, LLC Attorney for Plaintiff

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANNA J. BROWN, United States Senior District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion (#78) for Award of Attorney Fees and Bill of Costs (#81) against Defendant Edward D. Jackson. For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion and AWARDS Plaintiff attorneys' fees of $22, 776.00 and COSTS in the amount of $1, 590.37.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is an Ohio corporation authorized to post surety bonds and to transact business in Oregon.

         On April 19, 2016, Plaintiff Great American Insurance Company posted an Oregon Motor Vehicle Bond in the amount of $40, 000.00 with the State of Oregon on behalf of Defendant Jackson, dba JSI Motors, Inc. The bond was required pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes § 822.030 in order for Jackson to obtain a motor-vehicle certificate to conduct an automobile sales business in Oregon. Jackson signed the Surety Bond Agreement. The bond was effective beginning April 19, 2016, but was cancelled on September 7, 2016.

         Eleven individuals and companies asserted claims against Jackson that arose during the bond period. The total claims exceeded the face amount of the bond.

         On October 19, 2016, Plaintiff filed an Interpleader Complaint in this Court to resolve the competing claims made against the bond. Plaintiff named Jackson as a defendant and, pursuant to the terms of the bond, asserted a claim of indemnity for all costs and expenses (including attorneys' fees) that were incurred by Plaintiff as a consequence of posting the bond and paying the claims against Jackson. Jackson was personally served with Summons and Complaint, but he failed to answer or otherwise to appear within the time required.

         On August 2, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Default and issued an Order of Default against Jackson.

         On November 9, 2017, the Court entered Default Judgment in the amount of $40, 000.00 against Jackson in favor of Plaintiff.

         DISCUSSION

          I. Motion for Award of Attorneys' Fees

         A. Plaintiff is entitled to reasonable attorneys' fees.

         The Surety Bond posted on behalf of Jackson provides:

In consideration of the execution, renewal or continuation by the Surety of the Bonds, the Undersigned, jointly and severally, agree . . . [t]o indemnify the Surety against all loss, liability, costs, damages, attorney's fees and expenses whatever, which the Surety may sustain or incur by reason of executing the Bonds, in making any investigation on account thereof, in prosecuting or defending any action which may be brought in connection therewith, in obtaining a release therefrom, and in enforcing any of the agreements herein contained.

         Accordingly, based on this contractual agreement between the parties, the Court concludes Plaintiff is entitled to recover reasonable attorneys' fees.

         B. Plaintiff is entitled to attorneys' fees in the ...


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