United States District Court, D. Oregon
MASONRY INDUSTRY TRUST ADMINISTRATION, INC., an Oregon corporation, Plaintiff,
DIVERSIFIED MASONRY, LLC, a foreign limited liability corporation, Defendant.
A. RUSSO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Masonry Industry Trust Administration, Inc. initiated this
action against defendant Diversified Masonry, LLC. A default
judgment was subsequently entered against defendant.
Plaintiff now moves for an award of attorney fees in the
amount of $2, 574.00 and costs in the amount of $400. For the
reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motions are granted,
and fees and costs are awarded in full.
November 26, 2018, plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court
asserting claims premised on defendant's failure to pay
wages and contributions on covered employees as required
under the collective bargaining agreement, 29 U.S.C. §
186 of the Labor Management Relations Act, and 29 U.S.C.
§ 1145 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
On March 7, 2019, plaintiff moved for entry of default based
on defendant's failure to timely answer or otherwise
respond to the complaint. The Court granted plaintiff's
motion; a default judgment was subsequently entered on
September 11, 2019. On September 25, 2019, plaintiff filed
the present motions for attorney fees and costs.
to the prevailing party's motion, the court may award
reasonable attorney fees and costs. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d); LR
54. In determining a reasonable attorney fee, the court
employs the lodestar method by first multiplying “the
number of hours the prevailing party reasonably expended on
litigation by a reasonable hourly rate.” Morales v.
City of San Rafael, 96 F.3d 359, 363 (9th Cir. 1996) (as
amended). The court then considers whether it is necessary to
adjust the presumptively reasonable lodestar figure
considering the twelve factors articulated in Kerr v.
Screen Guild Extras, Inc., 526 F.2d 67, 70 (9th Cir.
court is required to ensure an award's reasonableness,
irrespective of any opposition from the non-prevailing party.
Gates v. Deukmejian, 978 F.2d 1392, 1400-02 (9th
Cir. 1992); see also Corder v. Gates, 947
F.2d 374, 378 n.3 (9th Cir. 1991) (“the reasonable fee,
as calculated by the district court, may fall short of the
actual fee that the plaintiff's lawyer charges”)
(citation and internal quotations omitted).
“[C]onsiderable discretion [is vested in the court] in
determining what attorney's fee is reasonable.”
Webb v. Ada Cnty., Idaho, 195 F.3d 524, 526-27 (9th
undisputed that plaintiff is the prevailing party and
therefore entitled to attorney fees pursuant to the
collective bargaining agreement between the parties.
Accordingly, the primary issue before the Court is the
reasonableness of the requested rates and hours.
Reasonableness of the Requested Rates
seeks the following hourly rate: $165 for Bradley Middleton,
who has over 15 years of experience as an attorney. Pl.'s
Mem. in Supp. 5 (doc. 26).
reasonable rate for legal services is “calculated
according to the prevailing market rates in the relevant
community.” McElmurry v. U.S. Bank Nat'l
Ass'n, 2008 WL 1925119, *3 (D. Or. Apr. 30, 2008)
(quoting Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895 (1984)).
“This District considers the most recent Oregon State
Bar Economic Survey. . . as its ‘initial benchmark'
in determining whether hourly billing rates are
reasonable.” Prison Legal News v. Umatilla
Cnty., 2013 WL 2156471, *4 (D. Or. May 16, 2013)
average and median hourly rates from the 2017 Oregon State
Bar Survey for a Portland attorney with 13 to 15 years of
experience are $288 and $300, respectively. 2017 OSB
Survey 38-40. The rate sought by plaintiff's counsel
is significantly less. Accordingly, Mr. Middleton is awarded
his requested rate of $165 per hour.
Reasonableness of ...