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Cabrera v. Schafer

United States District Court, E.D. New York

March 27, 2017

THOMAS SCHAFER, DREAM TEAM TAVERN CORP., d/b/a Tommy's Place Defendant(s).

          Frank & Associates, P.C. Attorneys for the Plaintiff By: Neil Frank, Esq., Alyssa T Marino, Esq., Brian Bodansky, Esq., Patricia Lynne Boland, Esq., Of Counsel.

          Gruenberg Kelly Della Co-Counsel for the Defendants By: Glenn E Auletta, Esq., Sean Patrick Kelly, Esq., Zachary M Beriloff, Esq., Of Counsel.


          ARTHUR D. SPATT United States District Judge.

         Following a jury trial, the Defendants Dream Team Tavern Corp. d/b/a Tommy's Place and Thomas Schafer (collectively, “the Defendants”), were found liable under the New York State labor laws for failure to pay the Plaintiff Efrain Reyes Cabrera (the “Plaintiff”) wages for his “spread of hours.” The jury found that the Defendants were not liable under Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201, et seq. (the “FLSA”) and New York State labor laws for failing to pay the Plaintiff overtime or for failing to provide the Plaintiff with pay stubs. The Plaintiff moved for attorneys' fees and costs, and the Court referred the motion to Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson. Judge Tomlinson recommended that the Court award the Plaintiff $34, 488.50 in attorneys' fees and $350 in costs.

         Presently before the Court are the Defendants' objections to Judge Tomlinson's February 17, 2017 Report and Recommendation (the “R&R”) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Fed. R. Civ. P.” or “Rule”) 72. For the following reasons, the Court finds that the Defendants' objections are either conclusory or duplicative of arguments they made in their original memorandum of law. The Court therefore reviews the R&R therefore for clear error; finds no clear error; and adopts the R&R in its entirety.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Defendants' Objections to the R&R

         The Defendants made five numbered objections to the R&R. First, they objected to any consideration of the counsel for the Plaintiff's time records because the Defendants contend that they were not authenticated and therefore inadmissible. Second, the Defendants argue that the lodestar figure presented by the Plaintiff's attorney should have been reduced because of the Plaintiff's limited success at trial. Third, the Defendants believe that the Court should have reduced the Plaintiff's attorneys' proffered hours by 70% instead of 30% because the hours were vague, duplicative, and unsupported. Fourth, the Defendants argued that the attorneys' fees were not reasonable. Fifth, the Defendants opined that the Plaintiff's counsel should not be afforded an opportunity to provide an affidavit regarding costs.

         The Plaintiff did not make any specific written objections to the R&R, nor did the Plaintiff's counsel file an affidavit of costs within fourteen days of the R&R


         A. The Standard of Review

         A district court reviewing a magistrate judge's report and recommendation “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Parties may raise objections to the magistrate judge's report and recommendation, but they must be “specific, ” “written, ” and submitted “[w]ithin 14 days after being served with a copy of the recommended disposition.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2); accord 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). A district court must conduct a de novo review of those portions of the R&R or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which timely and proper objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3) (“The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.”). The district court may adopt those portions of a report and recommendation to which no timely objections have been made, provided no clear error is apparent from the face of the record. Lewis v. Zon, 573 F.Supp.2d 804, 811 (S.D.N.Y. 2008); Nelson v. Smith, 618 F.Supp. 1186, 1189 (S.D.N.Y. 1985).

         In addition, “[t]o the extent . . . that the party makes only conclusory or general arguments, or simply reiterates the original arguments, the Court will review the [R&R] strictly for clear error.” IndyMac Bank, F.S.B. v. Nat'l Settlement Agency, Inc., No. 07-CV-6865, 2008 WL 4810043, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 31, 2008); see also Toth v. N.Y. City Dep't of Educ., No. 14CV3776SLTJO, 2017 WL 78483, at *7 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 9, 2017) (“Reviewing courts should review a report and recommendation for clear error where objections are merely perfunctory responses, argued in an attempt to engage the district court in a rehashing of the same arguments set forth in the original petition.” (quoting Ortiz v. Barkley, 558 F.Supp.2d 444, 451 (S.D.N.Y. 2008))). “The goal of the federal statute providing for the assignment of cases to magistrates is to increase the overall efficiency of the federal judiciary.” McCarthy v. Manson, 554 F.Supp. 1275, 1286 (D. Conn. 1982), aff'd, 714 F.2d 234 (2d Cir. 1983) (quoting Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404, 410 (Former 5th Cir. 1982) (en banc)) (footnote omitted). “There is no increase in efficiency, and much extra work, when a party attempts to relitigate every argument which it presented to the Magistrate Judge.” Toth, 2017 WL 78483, at *7 (quoting Camardo v. Gen. Motors Hourly-Rate Employees Pension Plan, 806 F.Supp. 380, 382 (W.D.N.Y. 1992)).

         “The question whether a party may raise a new legal argument for the first time in objections to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation has not yet been decided in this Circuit.” Levy v. Young Adult Inst., Inc., 103 F.Supp.3d 426, 433 ...

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