United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS
GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a motion for attorney's fees arising from an alleged
breach of the settlement agreement executed between Plaintiff
Atlantic Tower Services, Inc. (Atlantic Tower) and Defendants
Axis Teknologies, Inc. and Axis Technologies South Carolina,
LLC (Axis Defendants). The court has jurisdiction over this
matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Pending before the Court
is Atlantic Tower's motion for attorneys' fees
(Atlantic Tower's motion). ECF No. 97. Having carefully
considered Atlantic Tower's motion, the response, the
reply, the sur reply, Atlantic Tower's supplement, Axis
Defendants' reply to the supplement, Atlantic Tower's
sur reply to Axis Defendants' reply, the record, and the
applicable law, it is the judgment of the Court Atlantic
Tower's motion will be granted.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
parties entered into a settlement agreement following
mediation on January 21, 2019. ECF No. 71. The settlement
agreement required the Axis Defendants to pay $250, 000,
beginning with a $25, 000 payment due on or before March 1,
2019, followed by thirty equal monthly installments in the
amount of $7, 500 beginning on or before April 1, 2019, until
the amount was paid in full. ECF No. 76 at 1. The settlement
agreement also called for the execution of a Confession of
Judgment in the amount of $275, 00 as security for payment
under the terms of the settlement agreement. Id. The
Confession of Judgment was held in trust by counsel for
Atlantic Tower unless and until the Axis Defendants defaulted
on their obligations under the settlement agreement.
Id. After the Axis Defendants defaulted on their
payment due on April 1, 2019, Atlantic Tower filed a motion
to reopen this case (motion to reopen) to file the Confession
of Judgment. Id.
the parties fully briefed Atlantic Tower's motion to
reopen, the Court held a hearing and subsequently granted
Atlantic Tower's motion to reopen for the purpose of
filing the Confession of Judgment. The Axis Defendants then
filed a motion to alter or amend this Court's order
granting Atlantic Tower's motion to reopen, which this
Court denied. Atlantic Tower filed a motion to enter judgment
pursuant to the fully executed Confession of Judgment and a
motion for attorney's fees in the amount of $13, 100.50.
The Axis Defendants responded, Atlantic Tower replied, and
the Axis Defendants filed a sur reply. The Court granted
Atlantic Tower's motion to enter judgment pursuant to the
Confession of Judgment and directed Atlantic Tower to file an
itemized bill for its motion for attorney's fees. After
judgment was entered in favor of Atlantic Tower, counsel for
Atlantic Tower filed a supplement detailing their bill, the
Axis Defendants replied, and Atlantic Tower filed a sur
reply. The Court, having been fully briefed on the relevant
issues, is now prepared to discuss the merits of Atlantic
Tower's motion for attorney's fees.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
decision of whether to grant an award of attorney's fees
lies within a district court's discretion. Robinson
v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 560 F.3d 235, 243 (4th
Cir. 2009). “In calculating an award of attorney's
fees, a court must first determine a lodestar figure by
multiplying the number of reasonable hours expended times a
reasonable rate.” Id. (citing Grisson v.
The Mills Corp., 549 F.3d 313, 320 (4th Cir.
2008). In determining what constitutes a reasonable number of
hours and a reasonable rate, a court should consider these
(1) the time and labor expended; (2) the novelty and
difficulty of the questions raised; (3) the skill required to
properly perform the legal services rendered; (4) the
attorney's opportunity costs in pressing the instant
litigation; (5) the customary fee for like work; (6) the
attorney's expectations at the outset of the litigation;
(7) the time limitations imposed by the client or
circumstances; (8) the amount in controversy and the results
obtained; (9) the experience, reputation and ability of the
attorney; (10) the undesirability of the case within the
legal community in which the suit arose; (11) the nature and
length of the professional relationship between attorney and
client; and (12) attorneys' fees awards in similar cases.
Id. at 243-44 (citation omitted).
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES
Tower contends it is entitled to recover $13, 100.50 in
attorney's fees and costs incurred in moving to reopen
this case, filing the confession of judgment and responding
to the Axis Defendants' opposition in this process. In
support of its motion, Atlantic Tower provided an affidavit
of one of their attorneys, Mary McDonald Campolong (Ms.
Campolong), a time and expense report outlining the hours Ms.
Campolong, two partners at her firm, Beth Richardson and Paul
Hoefer, and three paralegals expended in filing their motions
and responding to the Axis Defendants' opposition.
Axis Defendants argue Atlantic Tower's motion for
attorney's fees should be denied because “[Atlantic
Tower] requests an unreasonable amount in fee's for
actions that were inherently unnecessary.” ECF No. 101
at 1. In the alternative, the Axis Defendants requests the
Court reduce the amount of any attorney's fees award to a
“reasonable figure.” Id.