United States District Court, D. Oregon
M. Foster, CHENOWETH LAW GROUP, PC, Of Attorneys for
Matthew Donohue and Kristin M. Asai, HOLLAND & KNIGHT
LLP, Of Attorneys for Defendant Progressive Casualty
A. Bledsoe and Julie A. Wilson-McNerney, PERKINS COIE LLP, Of
Attorneys for Defendant Chevron U.S.A. Inc.
OPINION AND ORDER ON ATTORNEY FEES
MICHAEL H. SIMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Goldingay (“Goldingay”) and Carol Otis
(“Otis”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”)
are husband and wife. They each filed their own lawsuit in
state court against both Progressive Casualty Insurance
Company (“Progressive”) and Chevron U.S.A. Inc.
“Defendants”). In these two lawsuits, Plaintiffs
assert only state law claims related to real property in
Oregon that they own in common. Defendants timely removed
both actions based on diversity jurisdiction. In October
2018, the parties settled their disputes, except for attorney
fees, and the Court entered stipulated judgments. Plaintiffs
now move for an award of reasonable attorney fees. Defendants
oppose Plaintiffs' motion, arguing first that Plaintiffs
are not entitled to any attorney fees and second that if
Plaintiffs are entitled to some fees, the amount awarded by
the Court should be less than what Plaintiffs request. For
the reasons that follow, Plaintiffs' request for attorney
fees is granted in part, and the Court does not believe that
oral argument is likely to be helpful.
an action where a federal district court exercises subject
matter jurisdiction over a state law claim, so long as state
law does not contradict a valid federal statute, state law
denying the right to attorney's fees or giving a right
thereto, which reflects a substantial policy of the state,
should be followed.” Avery v. First Resolution
Mgmt. Corp., 568 F.3d 1018, 1023 (9th Cir. 2009)
(citation and quotation marks omitted). Under Oregon law, if
a plaintiff prevails in an action where the amount pleaded is
$10, 000 or less, the plaintiff may seek a reasonable amount
of attorney fees to be fixed by the court. See Or.
Rev. Stat. § 20.080.
concluding that a prevailing party shall recover reasonable
attorney fees, a court applying Oregon law must consider the
specific factors set forth in Or. Rev. Stat. § 20.075 to
determine the amount of attorney fees to be awarded. The
specific factors set forth in Or. Rev. Stat. § 20.075(1)
(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
(e) The objective reasonableness of the parties and the
diligence of the parties and their attorneys during the
(f) The objective reasonableness of the parties and the
diligence of the parties in pursuing settlement of the
(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 circumstances of the case.
Or. Rev. Stat. § 20.075(1). After considering these
eight factors, Or. Rev. Stat. § 20.075(2) directs the
court to consider the following additional eight factors:
(a) The time and labor required in the proceeding, the
novelty and difficulty of the questions involved in the
proceeding and the skill needed to properly perform the legal
(b) The likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the
acceptance of the particular employment by the attorney would
preclude the attorney from taking other cases.
(c) The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar
(d) The amount involved in the controversy and the results
(e) The time limitations imposed by the client or the
circumstances of the case.
(f) The nature and length of the attorney's professional