Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Attorneys’ Fees and Prejudgment Interest Awarded by C.D. Cal. in RICO Action (Default Judgment) — Voluntarily Halving Actual Fees “Eminently Reasonable”

From Monex Deposit Co. v. Gilliam, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65767 (C.D. Cal. May 24, 2010):

RICO *** requires an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs. See 18 U.S.C. §1964(c) ("Any person injured in his business or property by reason of a violation of section 1962 of this chapter may sue therefor in any appropriate United States district court and shall recover . . . the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee . . . .); Merchants Home Delivery Serv., Inc. v. Frank B. Hall & Co., Inc., 50 F.3d 1486, 1491 (9th Cir. 1995) (noting the "mandatory attorney fees allowed by RICO"). The determination of reasonableness of an attorney's fees request is typically guided by the lodestar method. Under this method, the lodestar amount is calculated by multiplying the number of hours reasonably expended by counsel by a reasonable hourly rate. Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp. , 150 F.3d 1011, 1029 (9th Cir. 1998) (citing Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 897 (1984)). "[W]hen determining a reasonable hourly rate, the relevant community is the forum in which the district court sits." Camacho v. Bridgeport Financial, Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 979 (9th Cir. 2008). " 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. 1992) (citing Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983)).

Monex has submitted billing records documenting the hours expended and the rates charged, along with detailed explanations of the work performed. *** The Court has reviewed this submission and finds that the hours spent on this matter were reasonable, especially in light of the vigorous defense mounted by the Gilliams in the earlier stages of this litigation and the legal complexity of this case, and that the rates charged, ranging from $385 to $900, are also reasonable in this forum. Although Monex has submitted documentation supporting an award of over $1.1 million, Monex only seeks $500,000 in attorney's fees and expenses. The Court agrees with Monex that the over 50% reduction in requested fees makes this request eminently reasonable. Accordingly, the Court awards $500,000 in attorney's fees and costs to Monex.

Monex also seeks $12,267 in prejudgment interest, calculated using a 2% rate for the one-year period from the time was shut down to a year later. The Court has discretion to award prejudgment interest for damage caused by a RICO violation. See Maiz v. Virani, 253 F.3d 641, 663 n.15 (11th Cir. 2001) (citing Aetna Cas. Sur. Co. v. P & B Autobody, 43 F.3d 1546, 1571 (1st Cir. 1994); Abou-Khadra v. Mahshie, 4 F.3d 1071, 1084 (2d Cir. 1993)). The Court finds that an award of prejudgment interest is appropriate here and that the low rate used to calculate the prejudgment interest is reasonable. Accordingly, the Court awards $12,267 in prejudgment interest to Monex.

Share this article:


Recent Posts