United States District Court, D. Maryland
LAURA MCFEELEY, ET AL.
JACKSON STREET ENTERTAINMENT, LLC, ET AL.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, United States District Judge.
pending and ready for resolution in this Fair Labor Standards
Act (“FLSA”) case is an unopposed motion for
attorney’s fees and costs filed by Plaintiffs. (ECF No.
136). The court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary.
Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons,
Plaintiffs’ motion will be granted in part and denied
background can be found in the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit’s opinion affirming judgment for
Plaintiffs. See McFeeley v. Jackson Street Entm’t,
LLC, --F.3d--, 2016 WL 3191896 (4th Cir. June
8, 2016). Plaintiff Laura McFeeley initiated this collective
action under the FLSA and the Maryland Wage and Hour Law
(“MWHL”) by filing a complaint on April 3, 2012,
which was amended to add a second named plaintiff. (ECF Nos.
1; 3). Defendants Jackson Street Entertainment, LLC; Risque,
LLC; Quantum Entertainment Group, LLC; Nico Enterprises,
Inc.; XTC Entertainment Group, LLC; and Uwa Offiah
(collectively, the “Defendants”) answered the
amended complaint and asserted counterclaims. (ECF No. 4).
The court granted in part and denied in part
Plaintiffs’ motion to dismiss the counterclaims. (ECF
Nos. 12; 13). On May 6, 2013, Plaintiffs amended their
complaint for a second time to add individuals who had
opted-in to the certified class. (ECF No. 31). After the
court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary
judgment (ECF Nos. 56; 57), the remaining issues went to
trial in February 2015. Following a three-day jury trial, the
jury returned verdicts as to the amount of compensatory
damages to which each plaintiff is entitled. (See
ECF No. 87). On February 10, 2015 the court entered judgment
in favor of Plaintiffs and against Defendants; jointly and
severally for a total amount of $265, 276.50, which included
compensatory and liquidated damages. (ECF No. 93).
19, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a motion to recover
attorney’s fees and costs. (ECF No. 101). After the
Defendants filed an appeal with the Fourth Circuit, this
court stayed the action and deferred ruling on
Plaintiffs’ motion until after the adjudication of the
appeal. (ECF No. 123). On April 13, 2016, the undersigned
granted in part and denied in part a motion to compel, for
contempt, and for sanctions filed by Plaintiffs and awarded
Plaintiffs $1, 800.00 in attorney’s fees for work
related to the motion. (ECF No. 134). On June 8, the Fourth
Circuit affirmed the judgment in favor of Plaintiffs. (ECF
No. 135). On June 21, Plaintiffs filed the pending motion for
attorney’s fees and costs, which requests $170, 970.00
in attorney’s fees and $6, 903.96 in costs. (ECF No.
136). Defendants have not responded and the time to do so has
passed. On July 8, the Fourth Circuit denied
Defendants’ petition for a rehearing en banc,
and the mandate was issued July 18. (ECF Nos. 138; 139).
Standard of Review
action under the FLSA, “[t]he court . . . shall, in
addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff or
plaintiffs, allow a reasonable attorney’s fee to be
paid by the defendant, and costs of the action.” 29
U.S.C. § 216(b). The payment of attorney’s fees
and costs to employees who prevail on FLSA claims is
mandatory. “The amount of the attorney’s fees,
however, is within the sound discretion of the trial
court.” Burnley v. Short, 730 F.2d 136, 141
(4th Cir. 1984). The MWHL also allows for the
recovery of attorney’s fees and costs. See Md.
Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-427.
proper calculation of an attorney’s fee award involves
a three-step process. First, the court must ‘determine
the lodestar figure by multiplying the number of reasonable
hours expended times a reasonable rate.’”
McAfee v. Boczar, 738 F.3d 81, 88 (4th
Cir. 2013) (quoting Robinson v. Equifax Info.
Servs., LLC, 560 F.3d 235, 243 (4th
Cir. 2009)). In assessing reasonableness, the Fourth Circuit
has instructed district courts to consider what are known as
the Johnson factors, which are: (1) the time and
labor expended; (2) the novelty and difficulty of the
questions raised; (3) the skill required to properly perform
the legal services rendered; (4) the attorney’s
opportunity costs in pressing the instant litigation; (5) the
customary fee for like work; (6) the attorney’s
expectations at the outset of the litigation; (7) the time
limitations imposed by the client or circumstances; (8) the
amount in controversy and the results obtained; (9) the
experience, reputation and ability of the attorney; (10) the
undesirability of the case within the legal community in
which the suit arose; (11) the nature and length of the
professional relationship between attorney and client; and
(12) attorneys’ fees awards in similar cases.
Id. at 88 n.5 (citing Barber v. Kimbrell’s
Inc., 577 F.2d 216, 226 n.28 (4th Cir.
1978)). “Next, the court must ‘subtract fees for
hours spent on unsuccessful claims unrelated to successful
ones.’ Finally, the court should award ‘some
percentage of the remaining amount, depending on the degree
of success enjoyed by the plaintiff.’”
Id. (quoting Robinson, 560 F.3d at 244).
The Fourth Circuit has noted that a district court’s
determination of attorney’s fees should stand unless
the district court abused its discretion by reaching a
decision that is “‘clearly wrong’ or
committing an ‘error of law.’” Id.
at 88 (quoting Brodziak v. Runyon, 145 F.3d 194, 196
(4th Cir. 1998)).
burden rests with the fee applicant to establish the
reasonableness of a requested rate.” Robinson,
560 F.3d at 244 (quoting Plyler v. Evatt, 902 F.2d
273, 277 (4th Cir. 1990)). “In addition to
the attorney’s own affidavits, the fee applicant must
produce satisfactory specific evidence of the prevailing
market rates in the relevant community for the type of work
for which he seeks an award, ” including, for example,
“affidavits of other local lawyers who are familiar
both with the skills of the fee applicants and more generally
with the type of work in the relevant community.”
Id. at 244, 245 (internal quotation marks omitted).
The Local Rules provide non-binding guidelines regarding
reasonable hourly rates that vary depending on how long an
attorney has been admitted to the bar. Local Rules,
request the following rates for attorneys who worked on this
â¢ Gregg Greenberg (5-9 years admitted to the
bar during the course of this ...