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Kgk Jewelry LLC v. Esdnetwork

United States District Court, S.D. New York

May 6, 2015

KGK JEWELRY LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
ESDNETWORK, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

RONALD L. ELLIS, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On December 16, 2011, Plaintiff KGK Jewelry LLC ("KGK") commenced this action for breach of contract, tortious interference of a contract, and unfair competition against Defendants Electronic Sales Dealer Network, Inc. and Steve Yeko, its Chief Executive Officer (collectively, "ESDN"). Although this action was dismissed on January 22, 2015, by stipulation of the Parties, Plaintiffs requested that their motion for sanctions remain open for resolution. (Doc. Nos. 107-08) KGK argued that ESDN's former counsel, Adam Engel, engaged in "egregious discovery misconduct and bad faith, including the flagrant disobedience of orders issued by this Court" which deprived KGK of discovery. (Pl. Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. for Sanctions ("Pl. Mem.") at 5.) The Court granted KGK's motion for sanctions in the form of attorneys' fees on March 10, 2015. (Doc. No. 110) KGK submitted its fee application on March 23, 2015, seeking fees in the amount of $28, 409.50. (Doc. No. 113) ESDN filed no opposition papers. For the reasons set forth below, KGK's application is GRANTED in the amount of $17, 045.70.

II. BACKGROUND

See Opinion and Order dated March 10, 2015. (Doc. No. 110)

III. DISCUSSION

A. KGK's Requested Attorneys' Fees

A Court may impose sanctions against counsel and against a party and counsel pursuant to the Court's inherent authority to manage the cases before it. 28 U.S.C. § 1927 ("§ 1927"); see Revson v. Cinque & Cinque, P.C., 221 F.3d 71, 78 (2d Cir. 2000); accord Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 43 (1991) (holding that a court's inherent power to sanction is "governed not by rule or statute but by the control necessarily vested in courts to manage their own affairs so as to achieve orderly and disposition of cases"). Under § 1927, any attorney "who so multiplies the proceedings in any case unreasonably and vexatiously may be required by the court to satisfy personally the excess costs, expenses, and attorneys' fees reasonably incurred because of such conduct." 28 U.S.C. § 1927.

In determining the appropriate amount of attorneys' fees to award, the Court must calculate the "presumptively reasonable fee" by multiplying a reasonable hourly rate by the reasonable number of hours worked. Arbor Hill Concerned Citizens Neighborhood Ass'n v. County of Albany, 493 F.3d 110, 117-18 (2d Cir. 2007), amended on other grounds, 522 F.3d 182 (2d Cir. 2008). A "reasonable hourly rate is the rate a paying client would be willing to pay." McDaniel v. County of Schnectady, 595 F.3d 411, 414 (2d Cir. 2010). The factors relevant to this determination include: "(1) the time and labor required; (2) the novelty and difficulty of the questions; (3) the level of skill required to perform the legal service properly; (4) the preclusion of employment due to acceptance of the case; (5) the attorney's customary hourly rate; (6) whether the fee is fixed or contingent (7) the time limitations imposed by the client or the circumstances; (8) the amount involved in the case 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." Arbor Hill, 493 F.3d at 114 n.3 (internal quotation marks omitted). Furthermore, this Circuit has affirmed the "forum rule, " whereby a district court will award fees at the going rate in the district in which the court sits. Simmons, 575 F.3d at 174. The burden is on the party seeking attorneys' fees to submit sufficient evidence to support the hours worked and the rates claimed. See Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895 n.11 (1984).

1. KGK's Counsel's Hourly Rates

KGK's counsel requests an award of fees based on the following hourly rates:

Peter Raymond Partner, 30 Years of Experience $675.00 Geoffrey Young Associate, 7 Years of Experience $437.00 Lina Zhou Associate, 3 Years of Experience $255.00

These rates are reasonable in light of the prominence of counsel's firm, Reed Smith LLP, as well as the attorneys' respective credentials and years of experience. (Doc. No. 72, Ex. B.) Furthermore, as demonstrated by the National Law Journal's survey of New York City law firm billing rates in 2013, provided by KGK in its fee application, these rates are on the lower end of range of attorneys' fees charged by large law firms in the local area. ( Id., Ex. C.). The rates charged by KGK's counsel are within the ranges charged by comparable firms and are in line with rates ...


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