United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER AFFIRMING UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
KRISTEN L. MIX'S ORDER DENYING MR. INGOLD'S AMENDED
MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES
CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Attorney Chris L. Ingold's
Objection (Doc. # 419) to an Order issued by Magistrate Judge
Kristen L. Mix on November 21, 2017 (Doc. # 411), wherein
Magistrate Judge Mix denied Mr. Ingold's Amended Motion
for Attorney's Fees (Doc. # 328). For the following
reasons, this Court overrules Mr. Ingold's Objection and
affirms Magistrate Judge Mix's Order.
Judge Mix's Order (Doc. # 411) provides a comprehensive
recitation of the applicable factual and procedural
background of this case. The Order is incorporated herein by
reference. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A);
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a). Additional factual
background will be reiterated only to the extent necessary to
address Mr. Ingold's objections.
Suzanne Conry commenced this action pro se in 2014. (Doc. #
1.) She later retained Mr. Ingold as legal counsel. (Doc.
328-1.) On March 30, 2016, Ms. Conry signed an
“Agreement for Legal Services” (Fee Agreement),
which included an hourly fee agreement providing for an
hourly rate of $150 per hour for attorney time paid from a
retainer and $300 per hour for attorney time not paid from a
retainer. (Id. at 6.) The Fee Agreement
also provided that “authority is given to the attorney
to expend time providing legal services up to a maximum of 60
hours[, ] which limitation will not be exceeded without
client's further written authority.” (Doc. #
following months, Mr. Ingold and Ms. Conry's relationship
deteriorated. On September 12, 2016, this Court granted Mr.
Ingold's Motion to Withdraw from representing Ms. Conry.
(Doc. # 239.) Mr. Ingold thereafter filed a Motion for
Attorney's Fees claiming entitlement to fees for work
performed between August 25 and September 12, 2016, amounting
to $2, 907.50. (Doc. # 328 at 5.) Ms. Conry objects to these
fees. She argues that they accrued when Mr. Ingold improperly
continued working on her case after she terminated the
relationship and despite a lack of written authorization to
do so. (Doc. # 399 at 2.) Magistrate Judge Mix agreed with
Ms. Conry and denied Mr. Ingold's Motion for
Attorney's Fees. (Doc. # 411.) As pertinent here,
Magistrate Judge Mix also found that Mr. Ingold provided
insufficient evidence and no argument to support that Ms.
Conry impliedly authorized him to continue working.
(Id. at 6-7.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
magistrate judge issues an order on a nondispositive pretrial
matter, “[t]he district judge in the case must consider
timely objections and modify or set aside any part of the
order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). Under the clearly erroneous standard,
“the reviewing court [must] affirm unless it ‘on
the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm
conviction that a mistake has been committed.'”
Ocelot Oil Corp. v. Sparrow Indus., 847 F.2d 1458,
1464 (10th Cir. 1988) (quoting United States v. U.S.
Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)); Allen v.
Sybase, Inc., 468 F.3d 642, 658 (10th Cir. 2006).
Ingold first objects to Magistrate Judge Mix's conclusion
that he did not provide sufficient evidence of implied
authorization to continue working on Ms. Conry's case.
(Doc. # 419 at 2.) The Court overrules this objection.
support of his argument that Ms. Conry impliedly authorized
him to continue working on her behalf, Mr. Ingold highlights
multiple dates on which he alleges Ms. Conry demanded
additional work. (Id. at 2, 5.) Mr. Ingold
also contends that a payment made by Ms. Conry on September
6, 2016 further demonstrates her implicit authorization to
continue work on her behalf. (Id. at 2.)
Conry disagrees with Mr. Ingold's recitation of their
interactions. She instead asserts that she did not provide
authorization for him to continue working, and instead
requested, on September 4 and 5, 2016, that Mr. Ingold cease
his services and provide an immediate accounting.
(Id. at 2.) According to her, all time expended by
Mr. Ingold after August 25, 2016, was improper and
contractually barred. (Doc. # 411 at 3.)
Court finds no clear error in Magistrate Judge Mix's
conclusion that Mr. Ingold failed to demonstrate that Ms.
Conry impliedly authorized him to continue working after
August 25, 2016. Mr. Ingold did not present any argument or
supporting legal authority to Magistrate Judge Mix to support
that he had Ms. Conry's implied authorization to continue
working. Nor does the evidence attached to his motion support
such an inference. Mr. Ingold merely cites to his own billing
records as containing “a record of multiple
communications with the client” and showing that Ms.
Conry “demanded” additional work-communications
and demands that Ms. Conry vehemently disputes. That Ms.
Conry paid Mr. Ingold $1, 000 on September 6 does not
conclusively show that she impliedly authorized his continued
services-indeed, the Court finds no error in Magistrate Judge
Mix's finding that the money was paid “to ...