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Comerica Bank v. Esshaki

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

December 21, 2017

COMERICA BANK, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES ESSHAKI, individually and as Trustee of the JAMES ESSHAKI LIVING TRUST dated April 25, 1991, as amended and restated, PETER SHAMAN, an individual, and PETER SHAMAN, M.D. P.C., jointly and severally, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES (DOC. 28)

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Comerica Bank (“Comerica”) brought this breach of contract action for failure to repay an Installment Note against defendants James Esshaki, James Esshaki Living Trust dated April 25, 1991 (“Trust”), Peter Shaman, and Peter Shaman, M.D. P.C. (“Shaman P.C.”) (collectively “Defendants.”). On September 7, 2017, this court granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and entered judgment in the amount of $344, 558.62 in principal, accrued interest in the amount of $21, 325.93, and $1, 779.09 in late fees, plus costs and attorney fees. Now before the court is Plaintiff's unopposed motion for approval of attorney's fees and costs. Plaintiff has submitted the affidavit of the lead attorney on this matter, Steven A. Roach, an equity partner at the law firm of Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone (“Miller Canfield”), and the billing records for himself and two other attorneys from his firm, Christopher A. Knight, an associate, and Nelson O. Ropke, a junior principal, who also worked on this matter. Plaintiff seeks total fees in the amount of $17, 665.00, and costs in the amount of $601.80, reduced by $493.11 for reimbursements already paid by Defendants, for a total of $17, 773.69.

         II. Standard of Law

         Because the court's jurisdiction was based on diversity, and the underlying breach of contract claim is governed by Michigan law, the court follows the methodology outlined in Pirgu v. United Serv. Auto. Ass'n, 499 Mich. 269 (2016) to determine attorney fees. The first step in determining an award of attorney fees is to determine the reasonable hourly rate customarily charged in the locality for similar services. Pirgu, 499 Mich. at 281. The second step is multiplying “that rate by the reasonable number of hours expended in the case to arrive at a baseline figure.” Id. Once the court arrives at this figure, referred to as the lodestar amount, the court considers the non-exhaustive list of eight factors identified by the Michigan Supreme Court in Pirgu:

(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 the lawyer,
(7) the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances, and
(8) whether the fee is fixed or contingent.

Id. at 282.

         III. ...


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