United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CHARLES A. SHAW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on plaintiff Gerber Life Insurance
Company's motion for leave to deposit interpleader funds,
for injunction, discharge and dismissal with prejudice and
recovery of fees and costs. Doc. 16. Among other relief,
plaintiff seeks attorneys' fees and costs in the amount
of $1500.00 for “reviewing the policy and file,
preparing an interpleader complaint, effectuating service of
ten defendants, communicating with some of the defendants and
conferring with counsel for one defendant, and preparing
[the] motion [for leave to deposit interpleader funds] and
accompanying proposed order.” Doc. 17. at 4.
Counsel's request for attorneys' fees and costs is
not accompanied by any information regarding the hours
expended on the case, hourly rates, or an itemization
detailing the costs (e.g., copy charges, mailing costs,
common law, it is within the Court's discretion to award
reasonable attorney's fees to a disinterested stakeholder
in an interpleader action from funds deposited in the Court
registry. See Millers Mut. Ins. Ass'n v.
Wassall, 738 F.2d 302, 304 (8th Cir. 1984). A
disinterested stakeholder “should not ordinarily be out
of pocket for the necessary expenses and attorney's
fees” it incurred in filing the interpleader action.
Hunter v. Federal Life Ins. Co., 111 F.2d 551, 557
(8th Cir. 1940). “In the usual case the fee will be
relatively modest, inasmuch as all that is necessary is the
preparation of a petition, the deposit in court or posting of
a bond, service on the claimants, and the preparation of an
order discharging the stakeholder.” Stonebridge
Life Ins. Co. v. Litherland, 2011 WL 743753, at *2 (E.D.
Mo. Feb. 23, 2011) (quoting 7 Charles Alan Wright &
Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 1719 (3d ed. 1998)).
award “should be limited to compensation for those
services strictly related to the interpleader itself”
and should not include attorney time “devoted to
limiting the liability of their own client” or in
briefing the attorney's fee issue. Equifax, Inc. v.
Luster, 463 F.Supp. 352, 357 (E.D. Ark. Nov. 9, 1978),
aff'd sub nom Arkansas Louisiana Gas Co. v.
Luster, 604 F.2d 31 (8th Cir. 1979) (per curiam).
context of a statutory interpleader action this Court applies
the lodestar method of determining a reasonable attorney fee
from Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424 (1983).
See Stonebridge, 2011 WL 743753 at *3; see
also 4 James Wm. Moore, et al., Moore's Federal
Practice § 22.06 (3d ed. 2018) (federal law should
apply to attorneys' fees issues in statutory interpleader
cases). Under Hensley, “The starting point in
determining attorney fees is the lodestar, which is
calculated by multiplying the number of hours reasonably
expended by the reasonable hourly rates.” Fish
v. St. Cloud State Univ., 295 F.3d 849, 851 (8th Cir.
2002) (emphasis added) (citing Hensley, 461 U.S. at
433). The onus is on the party seeking the award to provide
evidence of the hours worked and to support the rate claimed.
Id. at 433. “The district court should also
exclude from this initial fee calculation hours that were not
reasonably expended.” Hensley, 461 U.S. at
434. Once the lodestar amount has been determined, the Court
may consider several other factors to determine whether the
fee should be adjusted upward or downward, although
“many of these factors usually are subsumed within the
initial calculation of hours reasonably expended at a
reasonable hourly rate.” Hensley, 461 U.S. at
434 and n.9.
costs, allowable costs in most cases are limited to the
categories set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1920. Expenses not
on the statutory list must be borne by the party incurring
them. Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc.,
482 U.S. 437 (1987). The Court must carefully scrutinize the
claimed costs and the support offered for them. Farmer v.
Arabian American Oil Co., 379 U.S. 227, 232-33, 235
(1964); Alexander v. National Farmers Org., 696 F.2d
1210, 1212 (8th Cir. 1982). Taxable costs include: (1) fees
of the clerk and marshal; (2) fees for printed or
electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for
use in the case; (3) fees and disbursements for printing and
witnesses; (4) fees for exemplification and the costs of
making copies of any materials where the copies are
necessarily obtained for use in the case; (5) docket fees
under 28 U.S.C. § 1923; and (6) compensation of court
appointed experts and interpreters under 28 U.S.C. §
plaintiff has not provided evidence of the hours worked,
hourly rates, or prevailing rates, the Court is unable to
perform a lodestar calculation to determine whether
plaintiff's request for attorneys' fees is
reasonable. Moreover, because plaintiff has not provided an
itemized billing for the hours charged, the Court is unable
to examine whether any of the hours charged were not strictly
related to the interpleader, or were “excessive,
redundant, or otherwise unnecessary.” Hensley,
461 U.S. at 434. Moreover, plaintiff has not advised the
Court how much of the $1500.00 it requested is attributable
to costs and what exact costs were incurred. The Court is
therefore unable to determine if the costs are allowable
under 28 U.S.C. § 1920. The Court will direct plaintiff
to supply this information.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff Gerber
Life Insurance Company shall file supporting documentation,
including but not limited to itemized billing invoices,
itemized costs, hourly rates, and affidavits with respect to