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Reyes v. Snowcap Creamery, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

June 2, 2014

JONATHAN REYES, Plaintiff,
v.
SNOWCAP CREAMERY, INC., EMILY ARNOLD, and ROBERT ARNOLD, Defendants.

ORDER ON MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS

JOHN L. KANE, Senior District Judge.

On December 20, 2013, Mr. Reyes received a limited bench verdict on his Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 203 et seq.; Colorado Minimum Wage Order, 7 Colo. Code Regs. 1103-1:4; and Colorado Wage Act, C.R.S. § 8-4-101 et seq. claims. Doc. 101. Before me is Mr. Reyes's Motion for an Award of Attorney Fees and Costs. Mr. Reyes seeks attorney fees totaling $129, 953.35, an amount representing the sum of Mr. Reyes's billed fees less a 10% reduction in acknowledgment of the limited nature of Mr. Reyes's success. He also requests $1, 901.09 in costs.

I. Background

A. The Parties' Claims and Counterclaim

Mr. Reyes's brought three claims as follows:

Claim One: Snowcap violated the FLSA by failing to pay him overtime premium wages for the roughly twenty-five months of his employment[1].
Claim Two: Snowcap violated the Colorado Minimum Wage order by failing to pay him overtime premium wages for the roughly twenty-five months of his employment.
Claim Three: Snowcap violated the Colorado Wage act by failing to pay him any wages for his final week of work.

Had Mr. Reyes prevailed on all claims for all months he worked for Snowcap, his unpaid wage damages would have been $63, 342.75. Adding to this figure various liquidated and penalty damages and believing his federal and state remedies to be cumulative, Mr. Reyes estimated his total damages as $182, 583.59.

Snowcap pursued a counterclaim for $5, 503 to recover amounts it paid to fund Mr. Reyes's efforts in securing a work visa.

B. Verdict and Rulings

Concerning the FLSA claim, I found that Mr. Reyes was a non-exempt employee during the period from August 25, 2009 through January 23, 2010 and is entitled to overtime pay of $1475.19, plus liquidated damages in the amount of $1475.19. Regarding the Colorado Wage Act claim, I found that Mr. Reyes is entitled to $392.86 from Snowcap, representing a pro-rated portion of his salary for his last five days of employment from September 13-17, 2011. Additionally, I ruled that Snowcap could not recover on its counterclaim because federal law prohibits the reimbursement of an employer's visa-related expenses.

While ruling in favor of Mr. Reyes as specified above, I denied all damages claimed for overtime from January 24, 2010 to the end of his employment, a span of approximately twenty months, finding that Mr. Reyes was an exempt manager/supervisor during that period. Further, in a post-trial ruling, I held that while Mr. Reyes succeeded in proving violations of both the FLSA and the Colorado Minimum Wage Order statutes, he could not recover damages under both statutes. Doc.108. Consequentially, Mr. Reyes was awarded $3343.24 of his $182, 583.59 in claimed total damages. Doc. 112.

C. Mr. Reyes's Detailing of Counsel's Work and Independent Assessments Thereof To avoid repetition, I incorporate by reference the sworn Declaration of Scott Moss, Esq., Mr. Reyes's lead counsel, which (A) details the hourly rates, experience, and litigation roles of each attorney (Moss Decl. ¶¶ 1-2); (B) attaches, and adds the totals from, all records of attorney fees (hours, descriptions, and rates) and costs (expenses and disbursements) ( id. ¶ 3); (C) explains how counsel paid various costs and sought no fees from Mr. ...


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