On 01/05/2018 AMIR LITOVICH filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against MERCEDES BENZ USA LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MICHAEL P. LINFIELD. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
MICHAEL P. LINFIELD
DOES 1 TO 20
SONIC CALABASAS M INC
MERCEDES BENZ USA LLC
MERCEDES-BENZ OF CALABASAS
SONIC CALABASAS M INC DBA MERCEDEZ-BENZ OF CALABASAS
ZOLONZ ADAM M. ESQ.
ZOLONZ ADAM M.
UNIVERSAL JON D. ESQ.
ROBINETT TIMOTHY D. ESQ.
UNIVERSAL JON D.
11/8/2018: Minute Order
11/8/2018: Stipulation - No Order
1/31/2019: Motion to Compel
3/11/2019: Proof of Service by Mail
4/8/2019: Minute Order
7/17/2019: Motion to Compel
4/20/2018: Minute Order
2/20/2018: DEFENDANT SONIC CALABASAS M, INC., DBA MERCEDES-BENZ OF CALABASAS' ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT
3/16/2018: NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES ON BEHALF OF PLAINTIFF
1/24/2018: NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE
1/5/2018: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES
Motion to Compel (RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES); Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Motion to Compel (RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES); Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Motion to Compel (RESPONSES TO INSPECTION DEMANDS); Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Motion to Compel (ORDER DEEMING MATTERS SPECIFIED IN REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS AS TRUTHFUL); Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Motion to Compel ( (a)RESPONSES TO SECOND SET OF SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES WITHOUT OBJECTIONS AND/OR (b) IN THE ALTERNATIVE FOR TERMINATING, ISSUE OR EVIDENCE SANCTIONS); Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Motion to Compel (Responses to Second Set of Inspection Demands without Objections and/or in the alternative for Terminating, Issue or Evidence Sanctions; Request for Sanctions); Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Answer (DEFENDAN TSONIC CALABASAS M, INC. d/b/a MERCEDES-BENZ OF CALABASAS' ANSWER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT); Filed by Sonic Calabasas M Inc. (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Summons (on Amended Complaint (1st)); Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Notice ( OF RULING); Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 34; Jury Trial - Not Held - Vacated by CourtRead MoreRead Less
Answer; Filed by Mercedes Benz USA LLC (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCERead MoreRead Less
Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by Amir Litovich (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGESRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC688983 Hearing Date: January 08, 2020 Dept: 34
SUBJECT: Motion for Attorneys’ Fees, Costs, and Expenses
Moving Party: Plaintiff Amir Litovich
Responding Party: Defendants Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC and Sonic Calabasas M, Inc. dba Mercedes-Benz of Calabasas
The Court GRANTS in part Plaintiff’s motion for attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $185,094.36, which consists of $161,752.50 for attorneys’ fees and $23,341.86 in costs and expenses.
Plaintiff commenced this action on January 5, 2018. On January 7, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff’s motion to file a First Amended Complaint adding five causes of action. Plaintiff’s operative First Amended Complaint states causes of action for: (1) Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability; (2) Breach of Express Warranty; (3) Violation of Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act; (4) Violation of Consumers Legal Remedies Act; (5) Intentional Misrepresentation; (6) Negligent Misrepresentation; and (7) Violation of Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200.
On March 11, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff’s motions to compel responses to special interrogatories and requests for production.
On August 16, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff’s motions to compel form interrogatories, special interrogatories, inspection demands, motion to deem requests for admission admitted.
On September 6, 2019, after an informal discovery conference, the Court vacated Plaintiff’s motion to compel depositions of third-party witnesses, Keys European and Mercedes-Benz of Encino.
On September 30, 2019, Plaintiff filed a notice of settlement of the entire case.
On November 21, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant motion for attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses.
Plaintiff moves for an order warding attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses in the amount of $250,252.06. (Notice of Motion, p. 1:21-23.)
A. Evidentiary Objections
“Defendants objects [sic] to the ‘Consumer Law Survey Report’ offered in Mr. Ruben's Declaration, Exhibit 4, as both hearsay and irrelevant. Defendants also objects to mention of other cases in which court's [sic] awarded certain amounts on alleged fee motions, and mention of the billing rates of other attorneys not associated with this case.” (Opp., p. 17:16-19.) These objection are not in proper form.
The Court OVERRULES these objections.
Plaintiff seeks a total of $250,252.06, which includes: $189,052.50 in attorneys’ fees; $37,810.50 in the lodestar enhancement of 0.2; and $23,389.06 in costs and expenses. (Motion, p. 5:1-18.)
Although Defendants dispute that Plaintiff is the prevailing party pursuant to the settlement in this action (Opp., p. 12:1-10), Defendants’ third amended 998 offer to compromise states that Plaintiff is the prevailing party in this action. (Notice of Settlement, Ex. A, Third Amended 998 Offer to Compromise, ¶ 2.) Plaintiff is thus entitled to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
1. Attorneys’ Fees
Attorneys’ fees are allowed as costs when authorized by contract, statute, or law. (Code Civ. Proc, § 1033.5, subd. (a)(10)(B).)
In a lemon law action, costs and expenses, including attorney’s fees, may be recovered by a prevailing buyer under the Song-Beverly Act. (See Civ. Code, § 1794, subd. (d).) Section 1794 provides:
“If the buyer prevails in an action under this section, the buyer shall be allowed by the court to recover as part of the judgment a sum equal to the aggregate amount of costs and expenses, including attorney’s fees based on actual time expended, determined by the court to have been reasonably incurred by the buyer in connection with the commencement and prosecution of such action.” (Civ. Code, § 1794 [emphasis added].)
Thus, the statute includes a “reasonable attorney’s fees” standard.
The attorney bears the burden of proof as to “reasonableness” of any fee claim. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1033.5(c)(5).) This burden requires competent evidence as to the nature and value of the services rendered. (Martino v. Denevi (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 553, 559.) “Testimony of an attorney as to the number of hours worked on a particular case is sufficient evidence to support an award of attorney fees, even in the absence of detailed time records.” (Martino, 182 Cal.App.3d at 559.)
A plaintiff’s verified billing invoices are prima facie evidence that the costs, expenses, and services listed were necessarily incurred. (See Hadley v. Krepel (1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 677, 682.) “In challenging attorney fees as excessive because too many hours of work are claimed, it is the burden of the challenging party to point to the specific items challenged, with a sufficient argument and citations to the evidence. General arguments that fees claimed are excessive, duplicative, or unrelated to not suffice.” (Lunada Biomedical v. Nunez (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 459, 488, quoting Premier Med. Mgmt. Sys., Inc. v. California Ins. Guarantee Ass’n (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 550, 564.)
In determining whether the requested attorney’s fees are “reasonable,” the Court’s
“first step involves the lodestar figure—a calculation based on the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the lawyer’s hourly rate. The lodestar figure may then be adjusted, based on consideration of facts specific to the case, in order to fix the fee at the fair market value for the legal services provided.” (Gorman v. Tassajara Development Corp. (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 770, 774 [internal citations omitted].)
In determining whether to adjust the lodestar figure, the Court may consider the nature and difficulty of the litigation, the amount of money involved, the skill required and employed to handle the case, the attention given, the success or failure, and other circumstances in the case. (EnPalm LLC v. Teitler (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 770, 774; PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.)
“‘The reasonable market value of the attorney's services is the measure of a reasonable hourly rate. [Citations.] This standard applies regardless of whether the attorneys claiming fees charge nothing for their services, charge at below-market or discounted rates, represent the client on a straight contingent fee basis, or are in-house counsel. [Citations.]’ ” (Center for Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 603, 619.)
a. Hourly Rates
Plaintiff identifies the following rates for attorneys who worked on this case:
· Adam Zolonz, $475.00 per hour. (Zolonz Decl., ¶ 71.)
· Jeffrey Zolonz, $500.00 per hour. (Zolonz Decl., ¶ 73.)
· David Ruben, $550.00 per hour. (Ruben Decl., ¶ 22.)
· Sally Ayvazian, $475.00 per hour. (Ruben Decl., ¶ 29.)
For each of these attorneys, attorneys Adam Zolonz and David Ruben attest to the reasonableness of their rates and also to their legal experiences. (See Zolonz Decl., ¶¶ 64-73; Ruben Decl., ¶¶ 22-33.)
Defendants oppose the reasonableness of Plaintiff’s attorneys’ rates, asserting that “these rates are excessive for this type of routine litigation which did not require any particular extraordinary skill.” (Opp., p. 15:8-9.)
The Court finds that the hourly rates requested by Plaintiff are reasonable and commensurate with rates charged by attorneys with comparable skill and experience.
b. Reasonable Hours Incurred
Plaintiff’s counsel provides the billing invoice for this case that includes a breakdown of each attorney’s tasks and time spent. (Ruben Decl., Ex. 2; Zolonz Decl., Ex. 41.) Plaintiff’s counsel also includes a billing rate summary as follows:
(Motion, p. 5:1-7.)
Plaintiff argues that “actual time was memorialized for substantial individualized and separate tasks, none of which reflect duplicative, redundant or unnecessary work.” (Motion, p. 11:11-13.) Plaintiff explains that “prosecution of this action included, but was not limited to, work for such things as: consulting with the client; consulting with and retention of experts; formulation of legal strategy; preparing pleadings, propounding discovery; responding to discovery; preparing eleven motions (one motion to amend, ten motions to compel), two ex partes, and preparing the joint report for and attending the IDC, defending two Plaintiffs depositions, two Vehicle inspections, taking multiple dealer depositions, preparing subpoenas, dealing with massive meet and confers, preparation for and appearances at court conferences, depositions of experts, preparation for trial and everything else that goes along with litigating at this intensity level.” (Id. at p. 11:13-20.)
Plaintiff maintains that the nature and complexity of the litigation support the attorneys’ fees requested because “this action was not just a lemon law case” because “Plaintiff was defrauded.” (Id. at p. 9:4.) Plaintiff argues that “the vehicle suffered from defects prior to Plaintiff's purchase, the prior owner complained about those defects, and in response, the vehicle was repurchased, then re-branded as a CPO vehicle, and then re-sold to Plaintiff without the required repairs and legal disclosures.” (Id. at p. 9:4-7.) Plaintiff asserts that “the evidence that surfaced toward the end of this case supporting the fraud was irrefutable, and Defendants, by agreeing that Plaintiff is the prevailing party in this action, have admitted their violations of the law.” (Id. at p. 9:7-9.) Plaintiff also argues that the contingent nature of the fee award compels granting the hourly rates requested and “the contingent risk in this case is further compounded by the fact that Plaintiff’s attorneys advanced all costs.” (Id. at p. 9:21-26.)
In opposition, Defendants argue that many of the hours incurred by Plaintiff’s counsel is unreasonable there are block billing and vague entries, as well as “a number of entries appear to be purely administrative, which makes it abundantly clear that all of the billing is being done at attorney rates, as opposed to some of it being part of the normal overhead of an office.” (Opp., p. 12:18-28.)
Defendants specifically challenge the reasonableness of the following entries by Mr. Zolonz:
· “1/5/18 - T/C with client re: confidential .2. (MBUSA has no way to assess the reasonableness of this call).
· 4/19/18 - Detailed review of the file in preparation of the CMC 1.0. (The file should not have required a re-review, and should certainly have not taken 1.0 hour).
· 4/20/18 - Appearance at the CMC 3.1. This could have been done via CourtCall, and should not have taken 3.1 hours).
· 4/30/18 - T/C with client re: schedule office meeting. (This is administrative work).
· 7/12/18 - Receive and review extensive repair record, further drafting repair order summary, T/C with retained expert re: lower control arm replacement; 3 week repair noted for records; T/C with client re: repair covered under warranty .90. (This is by definition block billing).
· 10/1/18 - Strategize with counsel re: Defendant dealer (Sonic) PMQ deposition .60. (This is interoffice communication and should not be billable).
· 10/1/18 - Meeting with AZ in preparation of dealer defendant Sonic PMQ deposition .60. (This is either double billing (see above), or interoffice communication).
· 10/19/18, 10/23/18, 10/25/18 - several entries for T/C with ‘associated trial counsel.’ (Should be treated as interoffice communication).
· 10/29/18 - Detailed review and analysis of the file in preparation of the deposition of the PMK for Sonic Calabasas dba MB of Calabasas including the preparation of a very extensive outline 3.50. (This is relearning the file, and excessive time for preparing for this deposition).
· 10/31/18- Review of the Ds production of documents and further prep of the depo outline 2.50. (This is block billing, and more excessive time billed toward a routine dealership PMK deposition).
· 11/20/18 - Review of the file in preparation of the VI on 11/21/18 .50. (This is unnecessary, since it is Defendants' inspection and required Plaintiff only to produce the vehicle).
· 1/23/19 - T/C with co-counsel re: confidential .50. (Vague).
· 3/18/19 - Attend ex parte hearing + travel time 3.60, attend court hearing + travel time 3.30. (This is duplicative billing, and otherwise should be stricken since Plaintiffs ex parte application was frivolous and denied as such).
· 4/8/19 - Attend court hearing + travel time 2.60; Attend trial setting conference (+ travel time) 3.30. (This is duplicative).
· 8/23/19 - Extensive review of the file in preparation of the client's deposition 4.60. (This is excessive for preparing for his own client's deposition).
· 8/25/19 - Initial drafting P's trial docs, statement of case, exhibit list, witness list, jury instructions 4.0. (This is duplicative, since it was billed for in Mr. Ruben's 8/29/19 entry at 2.60 hours).” (Id. at pp. 13:1-14:14.)
Defendants also argue that all of Mr. Ruben’s fees are excessive as it was unnecessary to require a second attorney to be brought in this matter and that “all $90,310 Mr. Ruben billed should be stricken in its entirety.” (Id. at p. 14:15-24.)
After a review of the billing entries, the Court finds that some of the hours allegedly incurred by Plaintiff’s counsel are excessive.
For instance, it is unclear why the process to drafting a motion to amend the complaint and a first amended complaint took approximately 13.4 hours and the drafting of discovery motions took approximately 31 hours. (See Ruben Decl., Ex. 2.)
The Court agrees with Defendant that there are instances of Plaintiff’s counsel spending time on administrative matters and unreasonably charging for these hours at each counsel’s rate, instead of the rate of an administrative assistant. For example, telephone calls with Plaintiff and other individuals regarding scheduling meetings; initial drafting of trial documents; drafting of deposition notices and notices to appear; drafting subpoenas; drafting proposed orders; and drafting withdrawal notices are all matters that do not require billing at a counsel’s rate of $475.00, $500.00, or $550.00 per hour. (See id.; see also Zolonz Decl., Ex. 41.) Further, the Court finds that Plaintiff seeks to recover duplicative fees for his counsel Mr. Zolonz attending court hearings and travel times on March 18, 2019 and April 8, 2019. (See Zolonz Decl., Ex. 41.) During oral argument, Plaintiff’s counsel did not dispute these issues.
However, the Court notes that Defendant’s objections to the billing entries amount collectively to a total of 34.6 hours. Even if billed at the highest hourly rate of $500.00/hour, this would total $17,300.00.
The Court also does not agree with Defendant that Attorney Ruben’s work should be “stricken in its entirety.” This is not a clear-cut case of Plaintiff’s counsel over-staffing the case with a dozen or more attorneys; Plaintiff is only requesting compensation for the work of four attorneys.
Lastly, the Court notes that although Defendants claim that the amount of attorney's fees requested by Plaintiffs is “whopping,” (Opposition, p. 4:15), they do not indicate the amount of attorney's fees they themselves spent in defending this case.
It is not uncommon for courts to compare opposing counsel’s fees to help determine whether the moving party’s fees are reasonable. That is because a “comparative analysis of each side’s respective litigation costs may be a useful check on the reasonableness of any fee request.” (Mountjoy v. Bank of America, N.A. (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 266, 273, 281, quoting Donahue v. Donahue (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 259, 272. See, also, Deane Gardenhome Ass’n v. Denktas (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 1394, 1399 (comparing losing party’s total incurred fees with prevailing party’s claim for fees); West Coast Dev. v. Reed (1992) 2 Cal.App.4th 693, 707; In re Tobacco Cases I (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 570, 584 (court expressly recognized that an opponent’s time and amounts charged were probative to the determination of whether the fee claimant’s time is reasonable); Mountjoy v Bank of America, NA (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 266, 273 (comparison of the parties’ respective fees at the end of the case was probative to the ultimate question of reasonableness); accord, Democratic Party of Washington v. Reed (9th Cir. 2004) 388 F.3d 1281, 1287 (prevailing parties’ hours were not excessive because number of hours claimed of the same “magnitude” as their opponent’s hours); Cairns v Franklin Mint Co. (9th Cir. 2002) 292 F.3d 1139 (declining to reduce defendant’s lodestar fee calculations, in part, because opponent had incurred even greater fees).
The fact that Defendants chose not to include their own billing records undercuts their argument that Plaintiff’s requested fees are completely outlandish.
“In challenging attorney fees as excessive because too many hours of work are claimed, it is the burden of the challenging party to point to the specific items challenged, with a sufficient argument and citations to the evidence. General arguments that fees claimed are excessive, duplicative, or unrelated do not suffice.” (Lunada Biomedical v. Nunez (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 459, 488, quoting Premier Med. Mgmt. Sys., Inc. v. California Ins. Guarantee Ass'n (2008) 163 Cal. App. 4th 550, 564.)
As indicated above, all of the “specific items challenged” by Defendant amount to approximately $17,300.00. Further as indicated above, the Court also believes that some of the work billed by counsel at counsel’s rate of $475 - $550/hour could have been – and should have been billed – at a paralegal’s rate. The Court will reduce the loadstar by an additional $10,000.00 to account for these inefficiencies.
Having analyzed the motions and pleadings filed, and having reviewed the billing statements provided, the Court therefore determines that a reasonable lodestar in this case is $161,752.50 ($189,052.50 minus $27,300.00.)
Plaintiff requests a lodestar multiplier of 0.2 to account for the delay in payment. (Motion, p. 13:19-24.)
While the lodestar reflects the basic fee for comparable legal services in the community, it may be adjusted based on various factors, including “(1) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill displayed in presenting them; (2) the extent to which the nature of the litigation precluded other employment by the attorneys; (3) the contingent nature of the fee award” and (4) the success achieved. (Serrano v. Priest (1977) 20 Cal. 3d 25, 49.)
Nonetheless, the court must not consider extraordinary skill and the other Serrano factors to the extent these are already included with the lodestar. (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal. 4th 1122, 1138-1139.) “[A] trial court should award a multiplier for exceptional representation only when the quality of representation far exceeds the quality of representation that would have been provided by an attorney of comparable skill and experience billing at the hourly rate used in the lodestar calculation. Otherwise, the fee award will result in unfair double counting and be unreasonable.” (Id. at p. 1139.)
Here, Plaintiff argues that a 0.2 lodestar multiplier is appropriate primarily because (1) Plaintiff’s counsel advanced all litigation costs and expenses without reimbursement; and (2) Plaintiff’s counsel suffered a substantial delay in payment. (Motion, p. 13:21-24.) However, none of the other factors support the application of a multiplier. There has been no evidence presented to show that Plaintiff’s counsel was precluded from taking other employment opportunities because of the nature of this case. Additionally, this case was not particularly novel or otherwise requiring special expertise. To the extent such expertise is required, Plaintiff’s counsel’s rates appear to incorporate such expertise into the standard lodestar request. Overall, the Court finds that no multiplier is necessary based on the risk associated with the case.
Accordingly, the Court declines to apply a multiplier to the lodestar amount.
Allowable costs “shall be reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation rather than merely convenient or beneficial to its preparation.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1033.5, subd. (c)(2).) Any items not specifically mentioned by statute “may be allowed or denied in the court's discretion.” (Id., subd. (c)(4).)
'“If the items appear to be proper charges the verified memorandum is prima facie evidence that the costs, expenses and services therein listed were necessarily incurred by the defendant [citations], and the burden of showing that an item is not properly chargeable or is unreasonable is upon the [objecting party].' [Citation.]” (Nelson v. Anderson (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 111, 131.) The Court therefore first determines if the statute expressly allows for the item, and whether it appears proper on its face. If so, “the burden is on the objecting party to show them to be unnecessary or unreasonable.” (Id.)
The Beverly-Song Act allows a successful plaintiff to recover both “costs” and “expenses.” (See Civ. Code, § 1794, subd. (d).) Courts have held that “it is clear the Legislature intended the word ‘expenses' to cover items not included in the detailed statutory definition of ‘costs.”’ (Jensen v. BMW of North America, Inc. (“Jensen”) (1995) 35 Cal.App.4th 112, 137.) The court in Jensen held that “[t]he legislative history indicates the Legislature exercised its power to permit the recovery of expert witness fees by prevailing buyers under the Act … ,” noting that the legislature included “expenses” in the lemon law act because '“[t]he addition of awards of “costs and expenses” by the court to the consumer to cover such out-of-pocket expenses as filing fees, expert witness fees, marshall's fees, etc., should open the litigation process to everyone.' [Citation.]”
Plaintiff seeks to recover costs and expenses in the amount of $23,389.06 and attaches a memorandum of costs to support the recovery of this amount. (Motion, p. 5:11-18; Zolonz Decl., Ex. 43.)
Defendants argue that “some of Plaintiff’s cla[i]med costs and expenses as sought in the Motion were not ‘reasonably-incurred’” because “other than the deposition-related costs, Plaintiff provides no back-up or corroboration whatsoever to support the costs and expenses claimed.” (Opp., p. 16:20-23.) Specifically, Defendants argue that “all of the ‘Ntc,’ ‘RED,’ and ‘Expert fees for dep rep’ costs remain unverified, nor are they tied to any specific witness who ultimately appeared in the case or otherwise provided deposition testimony.” (Id. at p. 15:23-25.) Defendants also “challenge the following:
· $6,325.50 in expert charges for essentially a deposition and vehicle inspection as there was no trial. Further, Defendants paid Mr. Saurwein $2,275.00 for his deposition testimony;
· All costs (if any) associated with Mr. Ruben's appearances. It is not reasonable or necessary to fly in an attorney from Washington when Plaintiffs counsel's firm is a full-service lemon law firm right here in California.” (Id. at p. 17:1-7.)
In reply, Plaintiff argues that “to the extent that Defendants’ unsupported and limited argument places the costs and expenses at issue, the support documents for these items are attached to the accompanying Declaration of Adam Zolonz.” (Reply, p. 6:12-14 [citing Zolonz Decl., ¶ 2].) Plaintiff includes copies of all invoices and support documents for the $23,389.06 in costs and expenses claimed in Plaintiff’s fee motion, as Exhibit 1 to the reply declaration of Adam Zolonz.
Code of Civil Procedure §1033.5(a)(3) provides that costs for “[t]aking, video recording, and transcribing necessary depositions” are allowable, as are travel expenses to attend depositions. The Court finds that the deposition related costs claimed by Plaintiff are reasonable and necessary to the conduct of litigation.
However, the Court agrees with Defendant that Plaintiff has not explained or justified the costs labeled as “Ntc” ($13.65 on 4/11/19, 5/24/19) and “RED” ($9.95 on 4/19/19, 5/1/19.) (See Zolonz Decl., Ex. 43; Zolonz Reply Decl., Ex. 1.)
The Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s request for costs and expenses in the reduced amount of $23,341.86.
The Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion for attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $185,094.36, which consists of $161,752.50 for attorneys’ fees and $23,341.86 in costs and expenses.
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