United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
found Defendants liable for breach of contract. Plaintiff
Global Control Systems, Inc. (“GCS”), has filed a
motion for an award of attorneys’ fees (Doc. 224). GCS
asserts that it has used three law firms-the Intellectual
Property Center, the McClain Law Firm, and Van Osdol &
Magruder-over the course of this litigation which have
collectively billed $498, 855.05 in fees. In conjunction, GCS
has filed a motion to amend the judgment (Doc. 228) to add
these attorneys’ fees and to add pre- and post-judgment
explained below, a part of GCS’s fee request is
unreasonable. Therefore, the motion for attorneys’ fees
is GRANTED IN PART. The Court awards GCS $305, 802.89 in
attorneys’ fees. The motion to amend the judgment is
GRANTED and the Court awards GCS pre- and post-judgment
breached a contract that read, “In the event either
party commences any action in a court of law to enforce this
Settlement Agreement or obtain damages for the breach of this
Settlement Agreement, the prevailing Party shall be entitled
to an award of its actual attorneys’ fees and costs
incurred in such action.” (Doc. 224-3 at 8). GCS argues
that, having obtained judgment on all counts, it is entitled
to attorneys’ fees from Defendants.
diversity case, “[i]f a contract provides for the
payment of attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in the
enforcement of a contract provision, the trial court must
comply with the terms of the contract and award them to the
prevailing party.” DocMagic, Inc. v. Mortg.
P’ship of Am., L.L.C., 729 F.3d 808, 812 (8th Cir.
2013) (applying Missouri law). Defendants do not contest that
GCS is the “prevailing Party” under the contract.
See also Id. at 813-14. GCS is thus entitled to
attorneys’ fees per the contract.
the contract guarantees GCS “its actual
attorneys’ fees, ” only reasonable fees may be
recovered. See State ex rel. Chase Resorts, Inc. v.
Campbell, 913 S.W.2d 832, 835 (Mo.Ct.App. 1995)
(“[R]easonableness is an implied term in every contract
for attorney’s fees.”). The Court assesses
whether it is reasonable for GCS to claim half a million
dollars in attorneys’ fees.
Missouri law, the reasonableness of attorney’s fees is
determined by examining  the time expended;  the
nature, character and amount of the services rendered; 
the nature and importance of the litigation;  the degree
of responsibility imposed on the attorney;  the amount of
money involved;  the degree of professional ability,
skill, and experience called for and used; and  the result
obtained.” Weitz Co. v. MH Washington, 631
F.3d 510, 528-29 (8th Cir. 2011). “A plaintiff can be
compensated for work on unsuccessful claims if they are
sufficiently related to the successful claim because they
‘involve a common core of facts’ or ‘are
based on related legal theories.’”
Al-Birekdar v. Chrysler Grp., LLC, 499 F.
App’x 641, 649 (8th Cir. 2013) (applying Missouri law).
However, the court may reduce the awardable fees that
represent work unrelated to the plaintiff’s winning
issues. Id. The court may do this by a global
reduction or by line-item cuts. Id. at 648-49.
may not recover fees unrelated to its claims against Luebbert
the Court looks at what GCS’s attorneys spent their
time doing. GCS invoiced $498, 855.05 in attorneys’
fees, but as Defendants point out, not all of those fees
relate to GCS’s breach of contract claims. The
attorneys incurred significant fees prosecuting claims
against Defendants Alliant Techsystems Inc.
(“ATK”) and Midwest Controls, LLC
(“Midwest”), which were never parties to the
contract with the fee provision. Some of these fees are still
recoverable, however, because the ATK and Midwest claims
share the same factual nucleus with Luebbert’s and
Atlas’s breach of contract claims. Work performed
building a case against ATK and Midwest also helped GCS build
a case against Luebbert and Atlas.
Court finds that fees relating to discovery of GCS’s
claims against ATK or Midwest are presumptively reasonable
because discovery against those defendants helped GCS’s
claims against Luebbert and Atlas. The Court finds that fees
relating solely to ATK or Midwest are unreasonable. For
example, GCS may not recover fees incurred: drafting an
amended complaint that joined ATK and Midwest; responding to
ATK’s and Midwest’s motions for summary judgment;
or mediating claims with just ATK.
entries on GCS’s itemized billing statement that are
not compensable, the Court cuts the fees. For entries that
comprise both compensable and non-compensable work roughly
equally, the Court halves the fees. Accordingly, the Court
cuts $9, 895.25 and 43.6 hours from the McClain Law
Firm’s bill and $62, 850.25 and 219.5 hours from the
Intellectual Property Center’s bill, a total of $72,
745.50 and 263.1 hours. See Al-Birekdar, 499 F.
App’x at 648-49.
GCS has submitted duplicate requests for $18, 272.36: first
in its bill of costs (Doc. 226), and now in its motion for
attorneys’ fees. Because GCS may not recover costs
twice, the Court excludes those costs from the award of
Court therefore line-item cuts GCS’s requested
attorneys’ fees ...