United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
K. DuBOSE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff d'Amico Dry
d.a.c.'s Motion for Attorneys' Fees,  (Doc. 203),
Defendant Nikka Finance, Inc.'s Response, (Doc. 210), and
d'Amico's Reply, (Doc. 215). In March, the Court,
following a nonjury trial, found in d'Amico's favor.
Specifically, the Court found that Nikka was Primera Maritime
Limited's alter ego. (Doc. 192).
conclusion of litigation in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of New York (“the New York
action”), the District Court found in d'Amico's
favor. D'Amico Dry D.A.C. v. Primera Mar. (Hellas)
Ltd., 348 F.Supp.3d 365, 368 (S.D.N.Y. 2018),
reconsideration denied, No. 09-CV-7840 (JGK), 2019
WL 1294283 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 20, 2019). When d'Amico moved
for attorneys' fees and costs, the District Court granted
the motion in all respects save for fees and costs incurred
during an action in Texas and the present action (“the
Mobile action”). Instead, the District Court
“defer[red] to the Southern District of Alabama Court .
. . to determine whether the plaintiff's costs in that
action are reasonable and recoverable.” D'Amico
Dry d.a.c. v. Primera Maritime (Hellas) Limited, No.
1:09-cv-07840-JGK (Doc. 376 at 5); 2019 WL 1863789, at *2
(S.D.N.Y. Apr. 24, 2019).
now moves for legal fees related to this action. Nikka
opposes the request, arguing d'Amico is not entitled to
any fees or costs as a matter of law and that
d'Amico's $851, 885.02 request is
unreasonable. (The total now requested has increased to
$872, 844.52 to account for the fees incurred in preparing
the present motion.) The Court concludes that although
d'Amico is entitled to attorneys' fees and costs, the
attorneys' fees requested are unreasonably high.
within the Eleventh Circuit generally apply the lodestar
method-multiplying the hours reasonably expended by a
reasonable hourly rate-to calculate attorneys' fees.
Norman v. Hous. Auth., 836 F.2d 1292, 1299 (11th
Cir. 1988). The 12 factors identified in Johnson v.
Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714
(5th Cir. 1974), may aid the Court in that regard.
Norman, 836 F.2d at 1299. Those factors include:
(1) the time and labor required; (2) the novelty and
difficulty of the questions; (3) the skill requisite to
perform the legal service properly; (4) the preclusion of
employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the case; (5)
the customary fee; (6) whether the fee is fixed or
contingent; (7) time limitations imposed by the client or the
circumstances; (8) the amount involved and the results
obtained; (9) the experience, reputation, and ability of the
attorneys; (10) the undesirability' of the case; (11) the
nature and length of the professional relationship with the
client; and (12) awards in similar cases.
Ass'n of Disabled Ams. v. Neptune Designs, Inc.,
469 F.3d 1357, 1359 n.1 (11th Cir. 2006) (citing
Johnson, 488 F.2d at 717-19). “Courts are not
authorized to be generous with the money of others, and it is
as much the duty of courts to see that excessive fees and
expenses are not awarded as it is to see that an adequate
amount is awarded.” Am. Civil Liberties Union of
Georgia v. Barnes, 168 F.3d 423, 428 (11th Cir. 1999).
Eleventh Circuit has instructed that a reasonable hourly rate
is “the prevailing market rate in the relevant legal
community for similar services by lawyers of reasonably
comparable skills, experience, and reputation.”
Norman, 836 F.2d at 1299. In this case, the relevant
legal community is Mobile, Alabama. Barnes, 168 F.3d
at 437 (quoting Cullens v. Georgia Dep't. of
Transp., 29 F.3d 1489, 1494 (11th Cir. 1994)) (providing
that “the ‘relevant market' for purposes of
determining the reasonable hourly rate for an attorney's
services is ‘the place where the case is
filed'”). As the party requesting fees,
d'Amico bears the burden of supplying the Court with
specific and detailed evidence from which the Court can
determine the reasonable hourly rate for the work performed.
Barnes, 168 F.3d at 427 (citing Norman, 836
F.2d at 1303). “Satisfactory evidence at a minimum is
more than the affidavit of the attorney performing the
work.” Norman, 836 F.2d at 1299. The Court, which
is familiar with the prevailing rates in the local market,
may act as its own expert and rely on its “knowledge
and experience” to determine the reasonableness and
propriety of the requested rates. Norman, 836 F.2d
at 1303. This Court's prior awards are relevant and
instructive in determining whether the “requested rate
is in line with prevailing market rates” in this
district for attorneys of reasonably comparable skill,
experience, and reputation to the attorney seeking an award
of fees. Langford v. Hale Cty. Ala. Comm'n, 2016
WL 4976859, *3 (S.D. Ala. Sept. 16, 2016).
Hours Reasonably Expended
determining the reasonableness of the number of hours
expended, the Court should not include any hours that are
“excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary.”
Norman, 836 F.2d at 1301 (quoting Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 434 (1983)). The Court will not
permit a party to recover fees for hours “that would be
unreasonable to bill to a client and therefore to one's
adversary irrespective of the skill, reputation or experience
of counsel.” Norman, 836 F.2d at 1301
(emphasis omitted). To determine whether the request is
reasonable, courts should consider the Johnson
factors. Bivins v. Wrap it Up, Inc., 548 F.3d 1348,
1350 (11th Cir. 2008). And if a court concludes that the
number of hours expended is unreasonably high, it may
“conduct an hour-by-hour analysis or it may reduce the
requested hours with an across-the-board cut.”
Id. For when- such as here-a voluminous request is
made, “an hour-by-hour review is simply impractical and
a waste of judicial resources.” Loranger v.
Stierheim, 10 F.3d 776, 783 (11th Cir. 1994). It is in
these instances “where the fee motion and supporting
documents are so voluminous, it is sufficient for the court
to provide a concise but clear explanation of its reasons for
the reduction, ” id., and the court may reduce
the hours sought with an across-the-board reduction. See
Padurjan v. Aventura Limousine & Transp. Serv.,
Inc., 441 Fed.Appx. 684, 687 (11th Cir. 2011) (holding
that the district court did not err in “effecting broad
percentage-based deductions to the hours expended”);
see also Villano v. City of Boynton Beach, 254 F.3d
1302, 1311 (11th Cir. 2001) (“Appellant submitted
569.30 hours for compensation. Those hours are extensive
enough that we do not expect the district court or the
magistrate judge to conduct an hour-by-hour analysis in this
case.”); Garrett Investments, LLC v. SE Prop.
Holdings, LLC, 956 F.Supp.2d 1330, 1344 (S.D. Ala. 2013)
(reducing request for attorneys' fees by 10%); SE
Property Holdings, LLC v. Green, 2013 WL 790902, *6
(S.D. Ala. Mar. 1, 2013) (15% across-the-board reduction for
clerical tasks performed by attorneys or paralegals,
excessive billing for intra-office conferences among
timekeepers, premature preparation of litigation documents
never filed, and billings for monthly status reports);
Norman v. Alorica, Inc., 2012 WL 5452196, at *7
(S.D. Ala. Nov. 7, 2012) (imposing a 50% across-the-board
cut); United States v. Adkinson, 256 F.Supp.2d 1297,
1316 (S.D. Fla. 2003) (reducing hours by 20% due to their
Nikka's General Arguments Against Attorneys' Fees and
argues d'Amico is not entitled to recover any of the
attorneys' fees and costs it incurred during the pendency
of the Mobile action. Three arguments underlie this broad
contention. The arguments include: (1) attorneys' fees
for the Mobile action are not part of the New York judgment
and cannot be awarded in an action for security to enforce
the New York judgment; (2) the English judgment is
time-barred and unenforceable; and (3) neither the English
judgment nor the ISDA Master Agreement provides for legal
fees. The Court has already addressed the second sub-argument
and will not revisit it.
the third argument, the Court finds, consistent with the
Southern District of New York, that the Master Agreement
provides for the legal fees. See D'Amico Dry d.a.c.
v. Primera Mar. (Hellas) Ltd., No. 09-CV-7840 (JGK),
2019 WL 1863789, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 24, 2019) (first
internal citation omitted) (“The English Judgment
expressly provides that the defendants will indemnify the
plaintiff for ‘all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses,
including legal fees . . . incurred by the [plaintiff] by
reason of the enforcement and protection of its rights under
this Agreement, including . . . costs of collection.'
Section 11 of the ISDA Master Agreement states ...