MIKA POWERS, doing business as SWEET RIDES AUTO, Plaintiff/Counterdefendant-Appellee,
KELLY RAY BROWN, Defendant/Counterplaintiff-Appellant.
Circuit Court. LC No. 2015-020295-CZ.
MIKA POWERS, Plaintiff-Counter Defendant-Appellee Retained:
RYAN CADE VILLET.
KELLY RAY BROWN, Defendant-Counter Plaintiff-Appellant:
THEODORE J WESTBROOK.
Judges: Before: K. F. KELLY, P.J., and FORT HOOD and REDFORD,
Mich.App. 619] Per Curiam.
Defendant/counterplaintiff, Kelly Ray Brown, appeals as of
right the trial court's order awarding him attorney fees
in the amount of $17,469.54 after he successfully prevailed
on a statutory conversion claim against
plaintiff/counterdefendant, Mika Powers, doing business as
Sweet Rides Auto. We vacate the trial court order regarding
attorney fees and remand for proceedings consistent with this
purchased a pickup truck from Sweet Rides Auto in 2014. In
2015, after Sweet Rides Auto claimed that defendant had
missed a monthly payment, it repossessed the truck, sold it
at auction, and applied the sale proceeds to the loan. Sweet
Rides Auto filed suit against Brown in an attempt to recover
the remaining loan balance from Brown, but Brown
counterclaimed that Sweet Rides Auto had wrongfully converted
the truck. At a bench trial, the trial court found that Sweet
Rides Auto had wrongfully converted the truck and awarded a
judgment in favor of Brown in the amount of $10,122, plus
attorney fees and costs.
subsequently filed a motion seeking an attorney fee award of
$30,347.50 based on his counsel's hourly rate and hours
billed. After hearing Brown's motion, the trial court
found that the hourly rate and hours billed were reasonable
but that the total amount of fees billed was too high in
relation to the " best case" [328 Mich.App. 620]
outcome that had been possible for Brown at trial. The court
concluded that because defense counsel had billed on a
contingent basis, an appropriate award was 1/3 of the maximum
amount that could be recovered ($52,983). By the trial
court's calculation, 1/3 of $52,983 was $17,659.23, so
the trial court awarded Brown that amount in attorney fees.
The trial court later entered an order awarding reasonable
attorney fees to Brown in the amount of
$17,469.54. Brown now appeals as of right.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
review for an abuse of discretion a trial court's award
of attorney fees. Smith v Khouri,481 Mich. 519,
526; 751 N.W.2d 472 (2008) (opinion by Taylor, C.J). "
An abuse of discretion occurs when the trial court's
decision is outside the range of reasonable and principled
outcomes." Pirgu v United Servs Auto Ass'n,499 Mich. 269, 274; 884 N.W.2d 257 (2016). " A trial