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Edwards v. Law Firm of Krisor & Associates

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

June 30, 2015

DEBRA EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
v.
THE LAW FIRM OF KRISOR & ASSOCIATES, Defendant.

ENTRY ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS

WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on the Plaintiff's motion for attorney fees and costs (Dkt. No. 19) and supplemental motion for attorney fees and costs (Dkt. No. 27). The Court GRANTS IN PART both motions for the following reasons.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Debra Edwards filed suit against Defendant The Law Firm of Krisor & Associates ("Krisor") on November 18, 2014, alleging it violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act ("FDCPA"). Her Complaint alleged that Krisor sent her two dunning letters on July 22, 2014, and August 4, 2014, respectively; however, both letters failed to include the "30-day validation notice on the front" and failed to note that "there was important information on the reverse side" of the letters. Dkt. No. 1 ¶¶ 27, 29. The Complaint also alleged that Krisor "threatened an action which [it] could not legally take" during a phone call Krisor made to the Plaintiff on August 8, 2014. Id. ¶ 32.

On December 5, 2014, the Plaintiff send a demand letter to Krisor. Krisor responded a week later, on December 12, 2014, offering to settle the case for $1, 500. The letter informed the Plaintiff that it did comply with the 30-day validation notice, attaching a July 3, 2014, dunning letter in support, and disputed that any threats were made during the August 8, 2014, phone call; it included a copy of the tape-recorded phone conversation in support.

The Plaintiff, however, did not accept this offer. Rather, on December 23, 2014, she filed a Motion to Amend Complaint (Dkt. No. 13). This motion was granted on December 24, 2014, and the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint was filed on December 29, 2014. The Amended Complaint alleged that Krisor violated the FDCPA due to the dunning letters and the August 8, 2014, telephone call.

On January 13, 2015, Krisor made an offer of judgment to the Plaintiff for $1, 000 and reasonable costs and attorney fees. On January 20, 2015, the Plaintiff accepted Krisor's offer of judgment (Dkt. No. 16).

The Plaintiff now requests $12, 355 in attorney fees and costs.[1]

II. STANDARD

Plaintiffs who prevail under the FDCPA are entitled to an award of costs and reasonable attorney fees. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3) (mandating the court to award to a prevailing plaintiff "reasonable attorney's fee[s]").

The touchstone for a district court's calculation of attorney's fees is the lodestar method, which is calculated by multiplying a reasonable hourly rate by the number of hours reasonably expended. If necessary, the district court has the flexibility to adjust that figure to reflect various factors including the complexity of the legal issues involved, the degree of success obtained, and the public interest advanced by the litigation. The standard is whether the fees are reasonable in relation to the difficulty, stakes, and outcome of the case.

Gastineau v. Wright, 592 F.3d 747, 748-49 (7th Cir. 2010) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). The party seeking the fee award bears the burden of proving the reasonableness of the hours worked and the hourly rates claimed. Spegon v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, 175 F.3d 544, 550 (7th Cir. 1999).

III. DISCUSSION

Krisor raises several objections to the Plaintiff's request. Each ...


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