United States District Court, D. Maryland
CORDISH POWER PLANT No. TWO, LLC Plaintiff,
CHARLES T. CHIANG, et al., Defendants.
STEPHANIE A. GALLAGHER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
November 2, 2018, in accordance with 28 U.S.C § 636 and
Local Rule 301.6(ak), United States District Judge Catherine
C. Blake referred this case to me to review Plaintiff's
Complaint and Request for Entry of Judgment by Confession.
(ECF 4). This Memorandum Opinion addresses the Amended
Complaint (“Complaint”) (ECF 6) that Plaintiff,
Cordish Power Plant Number Two, LLC (“Cordish”),
filed against Defendants Charles T. Chiang and Christiana S.
Chiang (collectively “Defendants”). For the reasons
stated below, I direct that the Clerk of the Court enter
judgment by confession against Defendants.
According to Local Rule 108.1 (“Judgment by
A complaint requesting the entry of judgment by confession
shall be filed by the plaintiff accompanied by the written
instrument authorizing the confession of judgment and
entitling the plaintiff to a claim for liquidated damages and
supported by an affidavit made by the plaintiff or someone on
that party's behalf stating the specific circumstances of
the defendant's execution of said instrument and
including, where known, the age and education of the
defendant, and further including the amount due thereunder,
and the post office address (including street address if
needed to effect mail delivery) of the defendant.
Loc. R. 108.1(a) (D. Md. 2016). The Local Rule provides that:
the Court may direct the entry of judgment upon a finding
that the aforesaid documents prima facie establish (1) a
voluntary, knowing, and intelligent waiver by the defendant
of the right to notice and a prejudgment hearing on the
merits of the claim of the plaintiff for liquidated damages
and (2) a meritorious claim of the plaintiff for liquidated
damages against the defendant.
Loc. R. 108.1(b) (D. Md. 2016).
case, Cordish attached to its Complaint a Confessed Judgment
Promissory Note (the “Note”) (ECF 6-3), by which
Defendants agreed to pay the principal sum of $156, 352.62 to
Cordish. The Note is signed by Charles T. Chiang and
Christiana S. Chiang. Id. The Note defines
“Default” as an event in which “Borrowers
fail to pay when due all amounts payable under the terms of
this Note.” Id. ¶ 3. If default occurs,
then at Cordish's option, “the entire Principal Sum
then due and owing, together with all accrued but unpaid
interest thereon and all other amounts payable by Borrowers
to Lender under the terms of this Note, shall immediately
become due and payable without notice to Borrowers or any
other person[.]” Id. The Note also contains a
“Confession of Judgment” provision, which states
in all capital letters that Defendants:
hereby authorize and empower any attorney designated by
Lender to appear for Borrowers in any court of record in any
one or more proceedings or before any clerk thereof and
confess judgment against Borrowers, without prior notice or
opportunity of Borrowers for prior hearing, in favor of the
holder of this promissory note for and in the amount of the
unpaid balance of the principal sum of the note with interest
accrued thereon, plus reasonable attorneys' fees,
expenses and all costs of collection.
Id. ¶ 5.
its Complaint, Cordish attached the affidavit of its
representative, Amanda Amos. (ECF 6-4). Ms. Amos explains
that the parties executed the Note in connection with a
Settlement Agreement and Release resolving a prior legal
action. Id. ¶¶ 4, 5. According to Ms.
Amos, Defendants made timely payments under the Note for the
months of June through August, 2018, but failed to make
payments due on September 1, 2018 and October 1, 2018.
Id. ¶¶ 10-12. Ms. Amos declared that the
amounts due and owing under the Note, as of November 8, 2018,
were: (1) a principal balance of $149, 426.55; (2) interest
of $1, 412.43; (3) attorneys' fees of $1, 725.00; and (4)
a court filing fee of $400.00. Id. ¶ 13.
Cordish also submitted the affidavit of Todd M. Reinecker,
Esq., providing time records and hourly billing rates to
support the request for $1725.00 in attorneys' fees. (ECF
careful review of the Complaint and the exhibits, I am
satisfied that the Note constitutes a “written
instrument[s] authorizing] the confessed judgment and
entitl[ing] Plaintiff to a claim for liquidated
damages.” See Loc. R. 108.1(a). The affidavit
from Ms. Amos details the method of calculation of the
requested confessed judgment, and provides the post office
address for the defendants. (ECF 6-4 ¶¶ 13-15). Ms.
Amos's affidavit does not contain “the age and
education of the defendants], ” as contemplated by Loc.
R. 108.1(a). However, Ms. Amos's affidavit attached the
Settlement Agreement and Release from the prior litigation,
which formed the basis for execution of the Note. (ECF 6-4,
Exh. A). Within that Settlement Agreement and Release,
Defendants acknowledged that they had “obtained the
advice of experienced legal counsel of [their] own choosing
in connection with the negotiation and execution of this
Agreement.” Id. ¶ 7. Because Cordish
provided evidence establishing that Defendants signed the
Note with advice of an attorney, the failure to specify the
Defendants' age and education is immaterial, because I am
able to assess the voluntary, knowing, and intelligent nature
of the waiver. I thus find that Cordish has complied with
the requirements of Local Rule 108.1(a).
addition, I conclude that the documents attached to the
Complaint “prima facie establish...a voluntary,
knowing, and intelligent waiver by the defendant[s] of the
right to notice and a prejudgment hearing on the merits of
the claim of the plaintiff for liquidated damages.”
See Loc. R. 108.1(b). I further find that Cordish
has submitted documents establishing a “meritorious
claim...for liquidated damages against” Defendants.
See Id. As noted above, Ms. Amos's affidavit
establishes that, as of November 8, 2018, Defendants owed a
total amount of $152, 963.98 in principal, interest, and
costs, plus attorneys' fees as addressed below. (ECF 6-4
Mr. Reinecker's affidavit sets forth the basis for
attorneys' fees, totaling $1, 725.00. (ECF 6-5). Two
attorneys billed time on this matter: Mr. Reinecker, who has
been admitted to practice law for sixteen years, and Michael
Brown, Esq., an associate who has been admitted to practice
law for three years. Id. ¶¶ 6, 8. As to
the reasonableness of the requested fees, Mr. Reinecker
requests a (reduced) hourly rate of $250.00, rather than his
standard hourly rate of $415.00. Id. ¶ 6. Mr.
Brown also requests a reduced hourly rate of $250.00, instead
of his standard hourly rate of $275.00. Id. ¶
8. Appendix B to this Court's Local Rules provides that
an attorney with Mr. Brown's experience should bill
between $150-225 per hour, and an attorney of Mr.
Reinecker's experience should bill between $275-425 per
hour. Loc. R. App'x B 3(a), (d) (D. Md. 2016). Thus, Mr.
Brown's rate is slightly high, and Mr. Reinecker's
rate is slightly low. Because the two ...