United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. Boyle United States District Judge
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees.
Doc. 30. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS
in part and DENIES in part
Court previously entered final judgment in favor of Plaintiff
Lee Burrell in this Americans-with-Disabilities-Act (ADA)
case. Doc. 29, Order & Final J., 1-2. Now Burrell seeks
an award of attorney's fees and litigation-related costs
in the amount of $22, 535. Doc. 32, Pl.'s App'x, 13.
He also seeks $6000 for future fees to enforce the Order.
Id. at 4. In support of his Motion, Burrell attaches
(1) an affidavit from his counsel, (2) the legal services
agreement, (3) and his counsel's time entries. See
54(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs costs
and attorney's fees. Under the American Rule, prevailing
parties generally cannot recover attorney's fees without
a statutory or contractual basis. Summit Valley Indus.,
Inc. v. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners, 456
U.S. 717, 721 (1982). Rule 54(d)(2) provides the procedure
for the prevailing party, by motion, to specify the statute,
rule, or other grounds entitling them to the award. The ADA,
the legal basis for this case, permits the prevailing party
to recover reasonable attorney's fees and
litigation-related costs. 42 U.S.C. § 12205. Burrell is
the prevailing party because the Court entered default
judgment against the Defendants. Doc. 29, Order & Final
J., 1-2. So Burell is entitled to attorney's fees and
is a two-step process to determine whether an award for
attorney's fees is reasonable. Combs v. City of
Huntington, 829 F.3d 388, 391 (5th Cir. 2016). First,
the Court must calculate the lodestar by multiplying the
“number of hours reasonably expended . . . by the
prevailing hourly rate in the community for similar
work.” Id. (internal citation and quotation
marks omitted). “There is a strong presumption of the
reasonableness of the lodestar amount.” Black v.
SettlePou, P.C., 732 F.3d 492, 502 (5th Cir. 2013). Then
the Court applies the twelve Johnson factors to the
lodestar to decide whether it should be adjusted. Johnson
v. Ga. Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-19 (5th
Cir. 1974), overruled on other grounds by Blanchard v.
Bergeron, 489 U.S. 87, 90 (1989).
Defendants have not filed a response to Burrell's Motion,
but the Court must still verify that he is entitled to the
amount he seeks. See United States v. Shipco Gen.,
814 F.2d 1011, 1014 (5th Cir. 1987) (“A default
judgment is a judgment on the merits that conclusively
establishes the defendant's liability. But it does not
establish the amount of damages.”). Burrell's
counsel spent fifty-one hours working on this case at a rate
of $400 per hour. Doc. 32, Pl.'s App'x, 13. After
reviewing the attached billing invoices and counsel's
declaration, the Court is satisfied that counsel's rate
is the prevailing hourly rate in the community for similar
work and that the time billed was not excessive, duplicative,
or inadequately documented. By multiplying the hourly rate by
the number of hours counsel spent on this case, the Court
arrives at a lodestar in the amount of $20, 400. And the
Johnson factors do not justify adjusting the lodestar.
So the Court GRANTS Burrell's Motion to
the extent that he should be awarded attorney's fees in
the amount of $20, 400.
also entitles Burrell to recover costs. 42 U.S.C. §
12205. There are three costs for which Burrell seeks
reimbursement: the filing fee ($400), the service fee ($235),
and the mediation fee ($1500). Doc. 32, Pl.'s App'x,
9, 13. The Court GRANTS Burell's Motion
in this respect and awards him costs in the amount of $2135.
Court DENIES Burrell's Motion to the
extent he requests an additional $6000 to enforce the
Court's Order. “Potential and estimated damages
associated with possibly having to . . . pay future
attorney's fees to recover on a judgment are simply too
speculative and outside the realm of damages [Burrell] can
establish [he] suffered or will suffer with a reasonable
degree of certainty.” Adonai Commc'ns, Ltd. v.
Awstin Invs., L.L.C., No. 3:10-CV-2642-L, 2017 WL
5992227, at *5 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 1, 2017). Therefore, Burrell
is only entitled to attorney's fees incurred as of today
($20, 400) and costs ($2135) for a total award of $22, 535.
reasons explained above, the Court GRANTS
Burrell's Motion for Attorney's Fees, Doc. 30, in the
amount of $22, 535, but
DENIES his Motion insofar as he requests