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QFA Royalties LLC v. Q of O, LLC

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 10, 2016

QFA ROYALTIES LLC, and QUIZNO’S MASTER LLC, THE Plaintiffs,
v.
Q OF O, LLC, KIMBRE L. ANDERSON, DONNA J. JOHNSON, PHILLIP S. JOHNSON, DALE A. THOMAS, JR., DALE A THOMAS, SR., and P & D SUBS, INC. Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR FEES AND COSTS

CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Fees and Costs. (Doc. # 64.) For reasons described below, the Motion is granted in part and denied in part. Specifically, the Court awards attorney fees in the amount of $20, 790.00 and costs in the amount of $1, 154.68.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs QFA Royalties LLC and The Quizno’s Master LLC (“Plaintiffs”) originally filed this lawsuit against seven defendants for their alleged violation of noncompetition covenants with Plaintiffs and their use of Plaintiffs’ trademarks and trade dress. On July 29, 2015, this Court entered default judgment against two of seven defendants to the original action, Q of O and P&D Subs (“Defendants”). Plaintiffs filed their Motion for Fees and Costs on August 12, 2015. (Doc. # 64.) Defendants filed no response.

II. DISCUSSION

Colorado follows the traditional “American rule” that, absent statutory authority, an express contractual provision, or a court rule, the parties in a lawsuit are required to bear the costs of their own legal expenses. Moore v. Edwards, 111 P.3d 572, 573 (Colo.App. 2005). Plaintiffs seek costs and attorney fees pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54, D.C.COLO.LCivR 54.3, and their franchise agreements with Defendants. (Doc. # 64 at 1, 3.) Those agreements, made enforceable through the default judgment entered by this Court on July 29, 2015, provide that “the non-prevailing party in any legal action will pay to the prevailing party ‘all damages, costs, and expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, incurred by the prevailing party.’” (Doc. # 64 at 3.) This Court concludes that the franchise agreements permit Plaintiffs to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs requested in the instant Motion.

A. ATTORNEY FEES

In accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 54 and D.C.COLO.LCivR 54.3, Plaintiffs request attorney fees in the amount of $23, 298.00. (Doc. # 64 at 4.) Specifically, Plaintiffs request an award for hours expended by senior attorney Fredric Cohen, who has more than 25 years of experience, attorney Allison Grow, who has five years of experience, and two paralegals, Adrienne Saltz and Emily Flores. (Doc. # 64-1 at 1-2.) All hours were expended in 2015. (Doc. # 64-2.) The expended hours, hourly rates, and total requested reimbursements are as follows:

• Senior attorney Fredric Cohen-12.1 hours at $450 per hour, for a total of $5, 445.
• Attorney Allison Grow-50.1 hours at $275 per hour, for a total of $13, 777.50.
• Paralegal Adrienne Saltz-1 hour at $195 per hour, for a total of $195.
• Paralegal Emily Flores-19.9 hours at $195 per hour, for a total of $3880.50.

(Doc. # 64-2.) In total, Plaintiffs request $23, 298 for 83.1 expended hours.

Because Defendants have failed to respond to the instant Motion, this Court lacks the benefit of scrutiny and analysis by the opposing party. Nonetheless, the Court has a duty to ensure that the request for attorney fees is reasonable. See Ramos v. Lamm, 713 F.2d 546, 553-54 (10th Cir. 1983), rev’d in part on other grounds, Pennsylvania v. Del. Valley Citizens' Council for Clean Air, 483 U.S. 711, 725 (1987) (noting that a district court “must carefully scrutinize the total number of hours reported to arrive at the number of hours that can reasonably be charged to the losing party, much as a senior partner in a private ...


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