United States District Court, D. Colorado
W.R. HANSEN, d/b/a Hansen Drilling, Plaintiff,
LKA GOLD INCORPORATED, a Delaware corporation, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND
William J. Martínez United States District Judge
W.R. Hansen (“Plaintiff”) brought this breach of
contract lawsuit against Defendant LKA Gold Incorporated
(“Defendant”) in May 2016. (ECF No. 1.) In
response, Defendant asserted a breach of contract
counterclaim against Plaintiff. (ECF No. 11.) The case was
finally resolved after four-day jury trial with the jury
returning a verdict in favor of Plaintiff on his breach of
contract claim, and finding against Defendant on its breach
of contract counterclaim. (ECF No. 79.) Final judgment,
including post-judgment interest, was entered in favor of
Plaintiff on November 29, 2018. (ECF No. 86.)
before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for
Attorneys' Fees (the “Fee Motion”) and
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Judgment for Prejudgment
Interest (the “Interest Motion”). (ECF Nos. 89
& 92.) For the reasons explain below, the Court grants
the Fee Motion and the Interest Motion.
jury found in favor of Plaintiff on his breach of contract
claim. The same contract contained a fee-shifting provision
which read: “In the event of legal actions, with
respect to this contract, the prevailing party shall be
entitled to recover all Court Costs and Attorney's
Fees.” (ECF No. 89.) Colorado allows a prevailing party
to recover attorneys' fees where a contract between the
parties provides for such fees. Planning Partners
Int'l, LLC v. QED, Inc., 304 P.3d 562, 565 (Colo.
2013). It is undisputed that Plaintiff is the prevailing
party in this action.
in any award of attorneys' fees is the requirement that
any such fees must be reasonable. See Mares v. Credit
Bureau of Raton, 801 F.2d 1197, 1201 (10th Cir. 1986)
(party requesting attorneys' fees has burden to
“prove and establish the reasonableness of each dollar,
each hour, above zero”); Robinson v. City of
Edmond, 160 F.3d 1275, 1281 (10th Cir. 1998) (prevailing
party must make good faith effort to exclude from a fee
request any excessive, redundant or otherwise unnecessary
most useful starting point for determining the amount of a
reasonable fee is the number of hours reasonably expended on
the litigation multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate.”
Hensley v. Eckhardt, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). This
is commonly referred to as the “lodestar method”
for calculating fees. Jane L. v. Bangerter, 61 F.3d
1505, 1509 (10th Cir. 1995). The best evidence of reasonable
fees is “meticulous time records that ‘reveal . .
. all hours for which compensation is requested and how those
hours were allotted to specific tasks.'”
Id. at 1510 (quoting Ramos v. Lamm, 713
F.2d 546, 553 (10th Cir. 1983)). The prevailing party must
make a “good faith effort to exclude from a fee request
hours that are excessive, redundant, or otherwise
unnecessary.” Hensley, 461 U.S. at 434. Where
such an effort appears “inadequate, the district court
may reduce the award accordingly.” Id. at 433.
submits invoices detailing how counsel spent approximately
225 hours, mostly at a contractual billing rate of $180.
Plaintiff was primarily represented by Andy Richmond, a
graduate of the University of Denver Law School admitted to
the bar in 2013. (ECF No. 89 at 2.) Andy Richmond billed
205.6 hours at a rate of $180/hour. (Id.) Jim
Plumhoff, Plaintiff's prior counsel and a 1999 graduate
of the University of Richmond Law School, billed
approximately 4.3 hours at an hourly rate of $225.00.
(Id. at 2-3.) Mark Richmond and Fred Sprouse, with
whom Andy Richmond consulted at various times throughout the
case, billed approximately 10 hours collectively at hourly
rates of $250 and $275, respectively. (Id. at 2.)
Finally, Mary Winston billed 4.6 hours at a paralegal rate of
$120 per hour.
counsel attests that these rates are reasonable and
consistent with other lawyers of comparable experience in the
region. (ECF No. 89-1 at 2.) The Court, having found similar
rates reasonable in this jurisdiction, agrees. See Fed.
Nat. Mortg. Ass'n v. Sechrist, 2012 WL 4511276, at
*3 (D. Colo. Oct. 2, 2012). The Court finds that the hourly
billing rates are reasonable in this case.
counsel spent approximately 225 hours on this case. (ECF No.
89 at 2.) The Court finds that this is a reasonable amount of
time given the nature of the issues in the case, and the fact
that the case was resolved in a four-day trial.
the hours spent by each individual by the hourly rates, and
deducting approximately $2, 800 in discounts, yields total
attorneys' fees of $38, 049.
does not contest the reasonableness of the number of hours
expended by Plaintiff's counsel or the hourly billing
rate, and the Court finds the hours and billing rates to be
reasonable in this case. Accordingly, the Court finds that
Plaintiff has demonstrated that the requested attorneys'
fees of $38, 049.00 are reasonable.