United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS
D. Noce UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is the motion of plaintiff Tom Dunne Jr. for
attorney's fees and costs (Doc. 239) resulting from the
Court's November 6, 2017 order (Doc. 220) sustaining his
motion to compel pretrial production of documents by
defendants Resource Converting LLC, Tim Danley, and Rick
Kersey ("RCI defendants"). (Doc. 203). RCI
defendants oppose the motion. (Doc. 241).
to the Fourth Amended Case Management Order, issued on August
2, 2017, pretrial discovery was to be concluded on or before
October 1, 2017. (Doc. 181). A joint motion to extend the
expert witness discovery date was sustained on August 22,
2017, and that discovery was extended to December 30, 2017.
(Doc. 183). On October 13, 2017, plaintiff moved to compel
production of documents from the RCI defendants. (Doc. 203).
The Court heard arguments on this matter on November 3, 2017,
and on November 6, 2017, granted plaintiff's motion.
(Doc. 220). The Court ordered the RCI defendants to produce
all responsive, relevant documents that had been withheld and
documents related to ten licensees. (Id.). The Court
ordered that, if necessary, relevant parties and witnesses
must be re-deposed. (Id.). Finally, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(5), the Court awarded
plaintiff the expenses of filing and prosecuting his motion
to compel, including courtroom appearances. The parties were
instructed to limit any re-deposition expenses, if at all
January 23, 2018, plaintiff 's counsel filed an affidavit
of costs and invoices, claiming a total of $18, 632.50 in
fees and expenses related to the filing of the motion to
compel. (Doc. 239, Exs. A-C). Plaintiff requests fees at the
following rates for the indicated hours:
a. for attorney Barry Haith: 7.6 hours at $415 per hour ($3,
b. for attorney Jonathan Waldron: 34.1 hours at $285 per hour
($9, 718.50); and
c. for attorney Matthew Rogers: 24 hours at $240 per hour
defendants object to the $415 rate for attorney Haith and
argue that none of the rates can be considered reasonable
without additional evidence from plaintiff. “The party
seeking litigation fees bears the burden to provide evidence
of the hours worked and the rate claimed.” Saint
Louis Univ. v. Meyer, 2009 WL 482664, at *1 (E.D. Mo.
Feb. 25, 2009). “A reasonable hourly rate is usually
the ordinary rate for similar work in the community where the
case has been litigated.” Emery v. Hunt, 272
F.3d 1042, 1048 (8th Cir. 2001). It should reflect any
special skill and experience counsel may have.
Hendrickson v. Branstad, 934 F.2d 158, 164 (8th Cir.
1991). In determining a reasonable rate, the Court may
consider the requesting attorneys' billing rates and the
Court's own knowledge of prevailing market rates in its
jurisdiction. Warnock v. Archer, 397 F.3d 1024, 1027
(8th Cir. 2005).
argues that the rates claimed for attorneys Haith and Waldron
are discounted by up to $100 from their current standard
rates. (Doc. 247). Plaintiff's counsel has also offered a
sworn affidavit to the effect that, among other things,
“[Mr. Waldron is] familiar with the rates, customs and
practices of local firms and fees for litigation matters such
as the present case . . . [and the] aforementioned fees are
fair and reasonable for the above described work[.]”
(Doc. 239, Ex. A at 3). Courts in this district have found
rates of $350 to $450 per hour for a partner in the St. Louis
metropolitan region to be reasonable. See, e.g., Xiem
Studio, LLC v. Nguyen, No. 4:14 CV 1366 CEJ, 2015 WL
3795852, at *5 (E.D. Mo. June 18, 2015) (approving hourly
rates ranging from $400 to $490 for partner work); Texas
Life Ins. Co. v. Packman, No. 4:13 CV 2019 JAR, 2014 WL
1400182, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 10, 2014) (findings rates of
$350 and $400 per hour for a partner to be acceptable). This
Court therefore concludes that the claimed hourly rates are
reasonable, in light of the evidence provided and its
knowledge of prevailing rates for similar services in the
greater St. Louis legal marketplace.
the Court determines the number of hours reasonably expended
in filing and prosecuting plaintiff's motion to compel.
“Counsel for the prevailing party should make a
good-faith effort to exclude from a fee request hours that
are excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary, just as a
lawyer in private practice ethically is obligated to exclude
such hours from his fee submission.” Quigley v.
Winter, 598 F.3d 938, 957 (8th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983)).
defendants assert that “review of plaintiff's
counsel's affidavit shows that the 65-plus hours claimed
is excessive, contains redundant or unrelated work ...