Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

First Merit Bank v. J&B Products, Ltd.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division

December 21, 2016

FIRST MERIT BANK, Plaintiff,
v.
J&B PRODUCTS, LTD., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES, COSTS, AND EXPENSES, AWARDING PLAINTIFF ATTORNEYS' FEES, COSTS, AND EXPENSES IN THE AMOUNT OF $61, 625.21, AND DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO SUBMIT PROPOSED JUDGMENT

          THOMAS L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge

         Plaintiff First Merit Bank initiated the present action by filing its complaint against Defendant J&B Products, Ltd. (“J&B”), and Defendant Joseph Bommarito on October 8, 2015. See Compl., ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleged that, by defaulting on three loan agreements, Defendants were in breach of various guarantees and promissory notes. Id. Plaintiff therefore sought repayment of all outstanding loan obligations ($415, 526.46 at the time the complaint was filed) and attorneys' fees.

         After the close of discovery, on July 27, 2016 Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on Counts II, III, and IV of Plaintiff's complaint. See ECF No. 16. On October 27, 2016 Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on Counts II, III, and IV was granted. Because there was no dispute that Loan No. 1 has been paid, Count 1 of Plaintiff's complaint was dismissed as moot. Judgment was not immediately entered in favor of Plaintiff, but instead the parties were directed to submit supplemental briefs addressing any unresolved issues regarding attorneys' fees. Those briefs have now been received.

         I.

         A.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) governs the payment of attorneys' fees. Under that rule, “a claim for attorney's fees and related nontaxable expenses must be made by motion unless the substantive law requires those fees to be proved at trial as an element of damages.” Rule 54(d)(2)(A). Such a motion must “be filed no later than 14 days after the entry of judgment” unless a statute or the court orders otherwise. Rule 54(d)(2)(b).

         Defendant argues that Plaintiff must use the procedure outlined in Rule 54(d)(2) to obtain its attorney's fees. The parties' promissory notes contain provisions governing the payment of attorneys' fees, providing as follows:

ATTORYNEYS' FEES; EXPENSES: Lender may hire or pay someone else to help collect this note if Borrower does not pay. Borrower will pay Lender that amount. This includes, subject to any limits under applicable law, Lender's reasonable attorneys' fees and Lender's legal expenses whether or not there is a lawsuit, including reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses for bankruptcy proceedings (including efforts to modify or vacate any automatic stay or injunction), and appeals. If not prohibited by applicable law, Borrower also will pay any court costs, in addition to all other sums provided by law.

See Promissory Note p. 1, ECF No. 25 Ex 2. Through this provision, attorneys' fees are an element of damages that would need to be proven at trial. Therefore Plaintiff is not required to use the procedure outlined in Rule 54(d)(2).

         B.

         Having determined that consideration of attorneys' fees is appropriate at this stage, the next issue is whether the fees sought by Plaintiff's counsel are reasonable. The burden of proving that requested fees are reasonable rests with the party requesting them. Smith v. Khouri, 481 Mich. 519, 528 (2008). The process by which reasonable attorney fees are calculated and awarded under Michigan law proceeds in three steps. First, the court must determine the “fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services.” Id. at 530. Second, the court must determine the reasonable number of hours expended by each attorney.” Id. (citing Norman v.

         Hous. Auth. of City of Montgomery, 836 F.2d 1292, 1301 (11th Cir. 1988) (explaining that excessive, unnecessary, or redundant hours should be excluded from the attorney fees computation). Third and finally, the court must multiply the two numbers to create a “baseline figure.” Smith, 481 Mich. at 533. At that point, the court “should consider . . . other factors and determine whether they support an increase or decrease in the base number.” Id. Those factors are as follows:

(1) the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services, (2) the difficulty of the case, i.e., the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly, (3) the amount in question and the results obtained, (4) the expenses incurred, (5) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client, (6) the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.