United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
F. BECKERMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
John Thomas Bristol (“Bristol”) brought this
action against five Oregon Department of Corrections
(“ODOC”) employees (“Defendants”).
(ECF No. 1.) Pending before the Court is Bristol's Motion
for Attorney's Fees (ECF No. 37), and Bill of Costs (ECF
No. 46). Bristol requests an award of attorney's fees in
the amount of $71, 700, as well as $1, 285.37 in costs.
Defendants oppose the motion. (ECF No. 43.) For the following
reasons, the Court grants Bristol's motion in part, and
awards Bristol attorney's fees in the amount of $71, 340
and costs in the amount of $400, for a total award of $71,
Court's November 27, 2018, Opinion and Order contains a
detailed account of the background facts. (ECF No. 34.)
Briefly, Bristol filed a complaint against Defendants under
42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his Fourteenth
Amendment due process rights arising from the revocation of
Bristol's transitional leave status without first
providing the protections set forth in Morrissey v.
Brewer, 408 U.S. 471 (1972). (ECF No. 1.) Bristol sought
declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages. (Compl.
parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. (ECF Nos.
19, 22.) On November 27, 2018, the Court ordered Defendants
to vacate the Disciplinary Order Bristol received on
September 9, 2016 because it violated Bristol's right to
due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. (ECF No. 34.) The
Court also found that qualified immunity protected Defendants
from Bristol's claim for civil damages. (ECF No. 34.)
This motion followed. (ECF No. 37.)
seeks attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
Section 1988 “allows the award of a reasonable
attorney's fee to the prevailing party in various kinds
of civil rights cases, including suits brought under §
1983.” Fox v. Vice, 563 U.S. 826, 832-33
(2011). Under 42 U.S.C. § 1988, courts must
“compensate the plaintiff for the time his attorney
reasonably spent in achieving the favorable outcome, even if
the plaintiff failed to prevail on every contention.”
Id. at 834 (citation and quotation marks omitted).
calculation of a reasonable fee award begins with calculating
the lodestar figure, by multiplying the number of hours
reasonably expended on the litigation by a reasonable hourly
rate. Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433
(1983). “The fee applicant bears the burden of
documenting the appropriate hours expended in the litigation
and must submit evidence in support of those hours
worked.” Gates v. Deukmejian, 987 F.2d 1392,
1397 (9th Cir. 1993). To determine the lodestar figure,
courts consider the factors set forth in Kerr v. Screen
Extras Guild, Inc., 526 F.2d 67, 70 (9th Cir. 1975).
These factors include the novelty or difficulty of the case,
the preclusion of other employment, time limitations, the
amount at stake, the results obtained, and the undesirability
of the case. Id.
Court must review the requested fee award for reasonableness,
even if no objection has been raised to the number of hours
billed or the hourly rate applied. Gates, 987 F.2d
at 1401 (finding that the “district court [is] required
to independently review plaintiffs' fee request even
absent defense objections”). The Court has
“considerable discretion” in determining the
reasonableness of a fee award. Webb v. Ada Cty.,
Idaho, 195 F.3d 524, 526 (9th Cir. 1999).
ask the Court to deny Bristol's motion for attorney's
fees because a plaintiff may not recover attorney's fees
from defendants protected by qualified immunity. (Defs.'
Opp'n at 2.) The Court disagrees.
well settled that qualified immunity or good faith does not
bar an award of attorney's fees when the plaintiff sues
government officials in their official capacities.
See Ky. v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166-67
(1985) (noting that “an official in a personal-capacity
action may . . . be able to assert personal immunity
defenses” but that “these defenses are
unavailable” in an official-capacity action); see
also Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1 v. State of
Wash., 633 F.2d 1338, 1349 (9th Cir. 1980) (“While
the absence of bad motives precludes an award against named
defendants in their individual capacities, . . . it does not
bar an award against the state or named individuals in their
official capacities.”); Williams v. Alioto,
625 F.2d 845, 848 (9th Cir. 1980) (“Because appellants
were sued in their official capacities, their good faith does
not bar an award of attorney's fees, as it would were the
award to be paid by the officials.”); cf.
D'Aguanno v. Gallagher, 50 F.3d 877, 882 (11th
Cir. 1995) (“Congress did not foresee or require the
award of fees against government officers, sued in their
individual capacity, when the officers avoided acting in
bad faith.”) (emphasis added).
argue that the fee award will fall to the Defendants in their
individual capacities because Bristol failed to name a
governmental entity as a defendant or to establish that
Defendants' unconstitutional acts were guided by an
official policy or custom, and therefore this case does not