United States District Court, D. New Jersey
EZAKIGLICO KABUSHIKI KAISHA and EZAKI GLICO USA CORPORATION, Plaintiffs,
LOTTE INTERNATIONAL AMERICA CORP. and LOTTE CONFECTIONERY CO LTD., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DUNN WETTRE. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is the application of Ezaki Glico Kabushiki Kaisha
and Ezaki Glico USA Corp. ("plaintiffs" or
"Glico") for an award of attorneys' fees,
costs, and expenses pursuant to Rule 37(c) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
(ECF Nos. 302, 308, 309,
316, 320). Defendants Lotte International America
Corp. and Lotte Confectionery Co. Ltd.
("defendants" or "Lotte") filed
objections to the amount of attorneys' fees sought. (ECF
Nos. 304, 306, 319). Having considered the parties
submissions, and for good cause shown, the Court awards
plaintiffs $33, 456.84 in attorneys' fees, costs, and
relevant background information is set forth in the
Court's February 13, 2019 Opinion and Order denying
plaintiffs' application to strike the supplemental report
of defendants' damages expert Ambreen Salters but
granting plaintiffs' application for an award of
attorneys' fees and costs as a sanction for
defendants' improper supplementation of the expert report
minutes before Ms. Salters' deposition. See Ezaki
Glico Kabushiki Kaisha v. Lotte Int'l Am. Corp.,
Civ. A. No. 15-5477, 2019 WL 581544 (D.NJ. Feb. 13, 2019).
Specifically, the Court found that
Ms. Salters' July 12, 2018 supplemental report may stand,
and defendants may rely on her updated damages opinions, but
defendants must reimburse plaintiffs for: (1) attorneys'
fees related to preparing for the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of
Ms. Lee on the topic of operating expenses; (2) attorney
expenses and travel costs to and from Los Angeles for Ms.
Lee's Rule 30(b)(6) deposition; (3) attorneys' fees
related to conducting Ms. Lee's Rule 30(b)(6) deposition;
(4) attorneys' fees related to preparing for the July 12,
2018 deposition of Ms. Salters; (5) attorneys' fees
related to time spent at the aborted July 12, 2018 deposition
of Ms. Salters; and (6) costs related to the July 12, 2018
deposition of Ms. Salters, if any.
Id. at *6. The Court directed plaintiffs to submit a
certification calculating the total amount of fees and costs
for which they are entitled to be reimbursed pursuant to the
Court's Order, along with supporting documentation.
Id. at *7. Accordingly, plaintiffs submitted the
Certification of Aaron S. Oakley, which sets forth the
respective hourly billing rates of plaintiffs' counsel
and summarizes the number of hours each attorney devoted to
the above-referenced activities. (ECF No. 302). At the
Court's direction, plaintiffs supplemented their
application with contemporaneous time records substantiating
the number of hours each attorney spent on reimbursable
activities. (ECF Nos. 314, 316). Plaintiffs request a total
of $31, 772.59 for 49.6 hours of work by attorneys Steven M.
Levitan, Roy H. Wepner, and Aaron S. Oakley that was obviated
by Ms. Salters' supplemental expert report and $2, 110.09
in costs related to the aborted July 12, 2018 deposition of
starting point for determining the amount of a reasonable fee
is the lodestar, which courts determine by calculating the
'number of hours reasonably expended on the litigation
multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate.'"
McKenna v. City of Philadelphia, 582 F.3d 447, 455
(3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461
U.S. 424, 433 (1983)). The party seeking fees bears the
burden of establishing the reasonableness of its fee request.
Interfaith Crnty. Org. v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc.,
426 F.3d 694, 703 n.5 (3d Cir. 2005). Accordingly, "the
fee petitioner must submit evidence supporting the hours
worked and rates claimed." Id. (quotations
omitted). The party opposing the fee application must then
"challenge, by affidavit or brief with sufficient
specificity to give fee applicants notice, the reasonableness
of the requested fee." Rode v. Dellarciprete,
892 F.2d 1177, 1183 (3d Cir. 1990).
Court must "review the time charged, decide whether the
hours set out were reasonably expended for each of the
particular purposes described and then exclude those that are
'excessive, redundant, or otherwise
unnecessary.'" Pub. Interest Research Grp. of
NJ., Inc. v. Windall, 51 F.3d 1179, 1188 (3d Cir. 1995)
(quoting Hensley, 461 U.S. at 433). "In
reviewing whether the number of hours in a fee application
are reasonable, the Court must conduct a thorough and
searching analysis, and it is necessary that the Court go
line, by line, by line through the billing records supporting
the fee request." Wachtel v. Health Net, Inc.,
Civ. Nos. 01-4183, 03-1801, 2007 WL 1791553, at *2 (D.NJ.
June 19, 2007) (quotations omitted).
counsel requests reimbursement for a total of 49.6 hours that
Aaron S. Oakley, Steven M. Levitan, and Roy H. Wepner worked
on the above-referenced compensable activities as follows:
Review Ms. Salters' expert report; prepare
outline of questions and exhibits for use at the Rule
30(b)(6) deposition of Joanne Lee; communication
among counsel about deposition strategy
Conduct Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of Joanne Lee
Review Ms. Salters' expert report; analyze
financial data and
documents underlying that report; prepare outline of
exhibits for use at the July 12, 2018 deposition of
Ms. Salters; communication among counsel about
Attend July 12, 2018 aborted deposition of Ambreen
do not object to any of the time entries submitted or to the
reasonableness of the total number of hours plaintiffs'
counsel devoted to compensable activities. Nonetheless, the
Court has carefully reviewed the Supplemental Declaration of
Aaron S. Oakley and the time records attached as its Exhibit
A, as well as the Supplemental Declaration of Roy H. Wepner
and the time records attached as its Exhibit A. (ECF Nos.
316-1, 316-2). None of the time entries appear to be
unnecessary or duplicative. The Court recognizes that the
depositions of Ms. Lee and Ms. Salters involved highly
technical subject matter and required counsel to digest
hundreds of pages of Lotte's operating expense data in
order to prepare questions for the witnesses. Consequently,
the Court finds that plaintiffs' request to be reimbursed
for 49.6 hours of attorney time related to the depositions of
Ms. Lee and Ms. Salters is reasonable.