United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
NICHOLAS G. GARAUFIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
February 25, 2011, Plaintiff Robert Friedman, then acting
with the assistance of attorney Robert D. Borzouye
("Borzouye"), filed a complaint in the Supreme
Court of the State of New York, Kings County, containing
numerous claims stemming from Plaintiffs March 17, 2010,
removal from his father's apartment and involuntary
commitment to the Coney Island Hospital. (Not. of Removal
(Dkt. 1).) Defendants removed the action to this court on July
5, 2011. (Id.) Plaintiff subsequently amended the
complaint multiple times to include numerous additional
claims and defendants, including United Jewish Appeal, Inc.;
United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of
New York; United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York
Charitable Fund LLC; and Self Help Community Services, Inc.
and its employees (collectively, the "Self Help
Defendants"). (See Revised Second Am. Compl. (Dkt. 49).)
Self Help Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint (Self
Help Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss (Dkt. 59)) and, separately,
moved for sanctions against Borzouye pursuant to Rule 11 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Self Help Defs.'
Mot. for Sanctions (Dkt. 68)). On March 17, 2015, the court
granted the Motion to Dismiss, ordered sanctions in the form
of reasonable attorneys' fees against Borzouye and,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Rule 72(b) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred determination of
the sanctions amount to Magistrate Judge James Orenstein for
a report and recommendation ("R&R").
(See Order Adopting R&R (Dkt. 121) at 9-11.)
August 31, 2016, Judge Orenstein issued an R&R
recommending sanctions in the amount of $38, 906.45,
comprised of $38, 743.50 in attorneys' fees and $162.95
in costs. (See R&R (Dkt. 138) at 1.) No party
has objected to Judge Orenstein's R&R, and the time
to do so has passed. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). (See
also R&R at 5-6 ("Any objections to this Report
and Recommendation must be filed no later than September 19,
district court reviewing an R&R "may accept, reject,
or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendations made by
the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c).
Where there is no objection to the R&R, the court
"need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error
on the face of the record." See Gesualdi v. Mack
Excavation & Trailer Serv.. Inc., No. 09-CV-2502
(KAM) (JO), 2010 WL 985294, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 15, 2010)
(quoting Urena v. New York. 160 F.Supp.2d 606,
609-10 (S.D.N.Y. 2001); see also Porter v. Potter,
219 F.App'x 112 (2d Cir. 2007) (summary order).
party violates Rule 11 's requirements, courts may impose
a sanction against the offending party including, inter
alia, "an order directing payment... of part or all
of the reasonable attorney's fees and other expenses
directly resulting from the violation." Fed.R.Civ.P.
11(c)(4). "When a court determines that attorneys'
fees and costs should be used as sanctions under Rule 11, the
award should be based both on the total amount of reasonable
attorneys' fees and costs attributable to the sanctioned
party's misconduct and the amount needed to serve the
deterrent purposes of Rule 11." See Eastway Const.
Corp. v. City of New York, 821 F.2d 121, 122-23 (2d Cir.
1987). The court will address the total amount of
attorneys' fees and costs and the amount needed to serve
Rule 11 's deterrent purposes below.
Calculation of Reasonable Fees and Costs
calculating reasonable attorneys' fees "the
lodestar-the product of a reasonable hourly rate and the
reasonable number of hours required by the case-creates a
'presumptively reasonable fee.'" Millea v.
Metro-North R. Co., 658 F.3d 154, 166 (2d Cir. 2011)
(quoting Arbor Hill Concerned Citizens Neighborhood
Assoc, v. Cry. Of Albany, 522 F.3d 182, 183 (2d Cir.
2008)). "[T]he party seeking [attorneys' fees]...
bears the burden of proving the reasonableness and necessity
of hours spent and rates charged.... supported by
contemporaneous time records that describe with specificity,
by attorney, the nature of the work done, the hours expended,
and the dates." Tr. of the Sheet Metal Workers Local
Union No. 28 Ben. Fund, v. K&K Const, of Queens
Cty., Inc., No. 10-CV-392 (ADS) (ARL), 2011 WL 4530145,
at *2 (E.D.N.Y.May 11, 2011) (citing New York State
Ass'n for Retarded Children, Inc. v. Carey,
711 F.2d 1136, 1147-48 (2d Cir. 1983)). Courts calculating
the lodestar should base their determination on "what a
reasonable, paying client would be willing to pay, "
including consideration of
the complexity and difficulty of the case, the available
expertise and capacity of the client's other counsel (if
any), the resources required to prosecute the case
effectively (taking account of the resources being marshaled
on the other side but not endorsing scorched earth tactics),
the timing demands of the case, whether an attorney might
have an interest (independent of that of his client) in
achieving the ends of the litigation or might initiate the
representation himself, whether an attorney might have
initially acted pro bono (such that a client might
be aware that the attorney expected low or non-existent
remuneration), and other returns (such as reputation, etc.)
that an attorney might expect from the representation.
Arbor Hill, 522 F.3d at 184. Courts in this district
have generally "found reasonable hourly rates to be
approximately $300-$450 for partners, $200-$325 for senior
associates, and $100-$200 for junior associates."
See Sass v. MTA Bus Co., 6 F.Supp.3d 238, 261
Judge Orenstein's R&R does not specifically address
the noted considerations, the court agrees with his
conclusion that both the amount of time expended and the
hourly fees charged are reasonable. The Self Help Defendants
submitted detailed contemporaneous records of their
attorney's time spent in responding to Borzouye's
frivolous Complaint and motions. These records list an hourly
rate of $195 for partner Thomas A. Catalano and $75 for
paralegal assistant Yassed Baez. Examining these records in
light of the factors articulated in Arbor Hill, the
court finds particularly relevant the "complexity and
difficulty of the case" and "the resources required
to prosecute the case effectively." Even a cursory
review of Plaintiffs' nearly 150 page Complaint and
myriad other filings reveals the numerous, complex, and often
confusing issues presented by Borzouye's frivolous
submissions. Catalano's contemporaneous billing reports
do not demonstrate any inappropriate, wasteful, or needless
work, and the hourly rate sought falls well below the rates
viewed as reasonable within this district. Borzouye offers no
challenge to the reasonableness of either the time expended
or the rate charged, and the court finds none itself.
Accordingly, the court adopts Judge Orenstein's finding
that both the number of hours expended and hourly rate are
reasonable and that the Self Help Defendants' compensable
attorneys' fees total $38, 743.50.