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Lonero v. King

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

December 21, 2017

JEFFREY B. LONERO, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVE KING, GREGORY HARTUNIAN, MARK ZUPIC, and JOHN DOE OFFICERS 1-18, Defendants.

          Linda V. Parker, District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MONA K. MAJZOUB, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff filed the present civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contending that employees of the Madison Heights Police Department violated Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. (Docket no. 1.) On December 4, 2017, the Court granted a motion to compel filed by Defendants and pursuant to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ordered Plaintiff to pay the reasonable expenses and attorney's fees that Defendants incurred in bringing the motion. (Docket no. 31.) On December 14, 2017, Defendants' counsel submitted a Bill of Costs. (Docket no. 33.) The undersigned now issues this Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         It is recommended that Defendants be awarded attorney's fees in the amount of $705.00, payable by Plaintiff to Defendants' counsel within twenty-one (21) days.

         II. REPORT

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed this civil rights complaint on the basis of alleged violations of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff contends that on December 7, 2013, Defendants employed excessive force during the execution of a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest, including tasering Plaintiff in the neck and striking Plaintiff in the head with a baton or flashlight. (Docket no. 1.)

         On April 20, 2017, Defendants served Plaintiff by U.S. Mail to Plaintiff's counsel with Defendants' First Set of Interrogatories and Request to Produce pursuant to FRCP 33(a) and FRCP 34(a)(1). (Docket no. 27-3.)

         On June 20, 2017, this Court entered a Stipulated Order compelling Plaintiff to serve full and complete answers to Defendants' First Set of Interrogatories and Requests to Produce Documents on or before July 5, 2017. (Docket no. 20.) When Plaintiff failed to respond by July 5, 2017, counsel for Plaintiff stated in an email to counsel for Defendants that he was “having trouble reaching [his] client.” (Docket no. 27-9.) Defense counsel agreed to give Plaintiff until July 12, 2017 to respond to the discovery requests. (Id.) On July 13, 2017, Defendants filed a motion to compel Plaintiff to respond to Defendants' first set of interrogatories and requests to produce. (Docket no. 22).

         On August 10, 2017, counsel for Defendants requested an update from Plaintiff's counsel regarding the outstanding discovery. Counsel for Plaintiff again stated that he was “having trouble breaking through to speak with [Plaintiff].” (Docket no. 27-8.)

         On December 4, 2017, the Court granted a motion to compel filed by Defendants and, pursuant to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, ordered Plaintiff to pay the reasonable expenses and attorney's fees that Defendants incurred in bringing the motion. (Docket no. 31.)

         B. Attorney Fees Standard

         Rule 37(a)(5)(A) authorizes the Court to order the payment of “the reasonable expenses incurred [by the moving party] in making the motion, including attorney's fees.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A). To calculate a reasonable attorney's fees award, courts use the “lodestar method, ” which requires the court to multiply a reasonable hourly rate by the reasonable number of hours worked. Ellison v. Balinski, 625 F.3d 953, 960 (6th Cir. 2010). The Court “has broad discretion to determine what constitutes a reasonable hourly rate for an attorney.” Hett v. Bryant Lafayette and Assocs., No. 10-cv-12479, 2011 WL 740460, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 24, 2011) (Borman, J.) (quoting Wayne v. Vill. of Sebring, 36 F.3d 517, 533 (6th Cir. 1994). But “[a]ccording to the law of this circuit, [the court] is required to adjust attorney fee rates to the local market rates for attorneys.” Swans v. City of Lansing, 65 F.Supp.2d 625, 647 (W.D. Mich. 1998) (citing Hadix v. Johnson, 65 F.3d 532, 536 (6th Cir. 1995)). In addition, the court considers the following factors when calculating the reasonableness of attorney's fees: “(1) the professional standing and experience of ...


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