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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/31/2019 at 06:17:20 (UTC).

JANE DOE VS JABARI SHELTON ET AL

Case Summary

On 11/30/2017 JANE DOE filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against JABARI SHELTON. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are GEORGINA T. RIZK and ELAINE LU. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****5310

  • Filing Date:

    11/30/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

GEORGINA T. RIZK

ELAINE LU

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

DOE JANE

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1-10

SHELTON JABARI

BARI A$AP

SHELTON JABARI AKA ASAP BARI

Cross Defendant

BARRESI PAUL

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

LAVELY & SINGER PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION

SINGER MARTIN D.

EAGAN TODD STANFORD

Defendant Attorney

GENGA JOHN MICHAEL ESQ.

 

Court Documents

DECLARATION OF MARTIN D. SINGER

8/27/2018: DECLARATION OF MARTIN D. SINGER

CROSS-DEFENDANT PAUL BARRESI'S NOTICE OF JOINDER AND JOINDER IN PLAINTIFF AND CROSS-DEFENDANT JANE DOE'S SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO CODE CIV. PROC. 425.16

8/28/2018: CROSS-DEFENDANT PAUL BARRESI'S NOTICE OF JOINDER AND JOINDER IN PLAINTIFF AND CROSS-DEFENDANT JANE DOE'S SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO CODE CIV. PROC. 425.16

Declaration

10/23/2018: Declaration

Proof of Service by Mail

10/23/2018: Proof of Service by Mail

Objection

10/26/2018: Objection

Notice

1/31/2019: Notice

Minute Order

1/31/2019: Minute Order

Notice

2/8/2019: Notice

Notice

3/1/2019: Notice

Supplemental Declaration

5/29/2019: Supplemental Declaration

APPLICATION FOR PUBLICATION

3/6/2018: APPLICATION FOR PUBLICATION

NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR PUBLICATION

3/12/2018: NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR PUBLICATION

APPLICATI0N FOR PUBLICATION

4/2/2018: APPLICATI0N FOR PUBLICATION

PROOF OF PUBLICATION

7/6/2018: PROOF OF PUBLICATION

SUMMONS

7/13/2018: SUMMONS

CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR DEFAMATION, CIVIL EXTORTION AND INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

7/13/2018: CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR DEFAMATION, CIVIL EXTORTION AND INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

SUMMONS

11/30/2017: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR: (1) SEXUAL ASSAULT AND BATTERY; ETC

11/30/2017: COMPLAINT FOR: (1) SEXUAL ASSAULT AND BATTERY; ETC

33 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/29/2019
  • Supplemental Declaration (OF TODD S. EAGAN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF AND CROSS-DEFENDANT JANE DOE SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE CROSS-COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO CCP SECTION 425.16); Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/16/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 03/01/2019
  • Notice ( OF HEARING OF PLAINTIFF JANE DOE?S SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE UNDER CCP SECTION 425.16); Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/08/2019
  • Notice ( of Case Management Conference); Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/31/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 26, Elaine Lu, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 01/31/2019
  • Notice ( of Hearing on Plaintiff Jane Doe's Special Motion to Strike Under CCP section 425.16); Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/31/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/30/2019
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by Jabari Shelton (Defendant)

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  • 01/30/2019
  • Proof of Service by Posting; Filed by Jabari Shelton (Defendant)

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  • 01/29/2019
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by Paul Barresi (Cross-Defendant)

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55 More Docket Entries
  • 04/02/2018
  • APPLICATI0N FOR PUBLICATION

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  • 04/02/2018
  • DECLARATION OF TODD S. EAGAN IN SUPPORT OF EXPARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER FOR PUBLICATION OF SUMMONS

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  • 03/12/2018
  • NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR PUBLICATION

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  • 03/06/2018
  • APPLICATION FOR PUBLICATION

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  • 03/06/2018
  • Application for Order to Publish; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 01/30/2018
  • EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO SERVE PLEADING AND ORDERS

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  • 01/30/2018
  • ExParte Application & Order; Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/30/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 11/30/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by null

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  • 11/30/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR: (1) SEXUAL ASSAULT AND BATTERY; ETC

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC685310    Hearing Date: December 09, 2020    Dept: 26

Defense counsel, John M Genga, Genga & Associates, P.C. (“Counsel”), moves to be relieved as counsel for Defendant Jabari Shelton (“Client”). On November 3, 2020, Counsel filed the instant motion to be relieved as counsel.

Counsel has filed a form MC-051 and MC-052 and has lodged with the Court a copy of the proposed order on form MC-053 pursuant to CRC Rule 3.1362.

The MC-052 form states that Counsel served Client via mail at Client’s last known mailing address, which Counsel states he has confirmed as current within 30 days of the motion by email with counsel for one of Client's businesses, from the records of that business, listing his New York apartment address. Also from counsel for Client in the UK, his communications with Client at his Los Angeles address, and CA Secretary of State records showing Client as agent for service of process for several of his LLCs at the Los Angeles address, which is a residential building.

Counsel states that there has been a break down in the attorney-client relationship such that Counsel can no longer represent Client as will not communicate with Counsel.

Counsel is ordered to electronically file a revised proposed order on form MC-053 prior to the hearing on this motion. Based on the notice of motion and the declaration filed by Counsel, the Court is inclined to grant the motion. The proposed order must identify all upcoming hearings and list the address of the Court in all items. The proposed order on form MC-053 must include the following additional language:

Case Number: BC685310    Hearing Date: July 28, 2020    Dept: 26

IN ORDER TO IMPLEMENT PHYSICAL DISTANCING AND UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, THE COURT STRONGLY ENCOURAGES ALL COUNSEL AND ALL PARTIES TO APPEAR REMOTELY FOR NON-TRIAL AND NON-EVIDENTIARY MATTERS, INCLUDING THIS MOTION.

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 26

Jane doe,

Plaintiff,

v.

jabari shelton p/k/a a$ap bari, et al.

Defendants.

Case No.: BC685310

Hearing Date: July 28, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

cross-defendant paul barressi’s motion for attorney fees

Background

On November 30, 2017, Plaintiff Jane Doe (“Doe”) filed a complaint against Defendants Jabari Shelton p/k/a A$AP BARI (“Shelton”) and Does 1-10 for (1) sexual assault and battery; (2) invasion of privacy – intrusion on seclusion; and (3) invasion of privacy – public disclosure of private facts. Doe asserts that Jabari entered her hotel room on July 9, 2017, demanded she have sexual intercourse with him, and sexually assaulted and battered her after she refused and fled to the bathroom. Doe asserts that Doe 1 videotaped the attack and that Jabari and Doe 1 published the video online to further harass and humiliate her. Doe asserts Jabari and his counsel subsequently demanded that Doe lie to the media by releasing a joint statement that there was no misconduct by Jabari and that the parties had resolved their dispute amicably and implied that they would release her identity if she did not agree to make such a statement.

On July 13, 2018, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Shelton filed a cross-complaint against Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant Doe and Cross-Defendants Paul Barresi (“Barresi”) and Roes 1 through 10 for: (1) slander; (2) civil extortion; and (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress. Shelton alleged in the Cross-Complaint that he did not commit misconduct. Shelton alleged that his and Doe’s representatives communicated about releasing a public statement to ease the impact the video of Doe might have on either of them, and there was no accusation of sexual assault during any of these interactions. Shelton alleged that only after Doe retained counsel did she begin to make the sexual assault claims. Shelton alleged that Doe’s counsel retained Barresi to effect service of the summons and complaint in this action and that Barresi employed deceptive, false, harassing, and extortionate techniques as part of the “shakedown operation” orchestrated by Doe and her counsel, such as repeatedly calling Shelton’s mother to harass her, making false statements to Shelton’s mother that Shelton had committed multiple crimes, and threatening Shelton with the possibility of criminal prosecution unless Shelton settled.

On August 27, 2018, Doe filed a special motion to strike Shelton’s cross-complaint (the “anti-SLAPP motion”). Barresi filed a notice of joinder. Shelton opposed. Following the June 7, 2019 hearing on the anti-SLAPP motion, Barresi filed a Supplemental Memorandum in Support of His Special Motion to Dismiss Shelton's Cross-Complaint pursuant to the Anti-SLAPP Statute. In a minute order issued on July 8, 2019, the Court noted that “[t]he authorities cited in Cross-Defendant Barresi’s supplemental memorandum indicate that service of process is protected petitioning activity for purposes of the first prong of the analysis of the instant anti-SLAPP motion” and that certain pleadings and orders indicated that service of process was an issue before this Court during the period of Cross-Defendants’ alleged misconduct, and thus, Barresi’s statements were made in connection with an issue under consideration. (CCP ¶ 425.16(e)(2).) (7/8/19 Minute Order.) On July 31, 2019, the Court granted Doe’s motion and Barresi’s motion by way of joinder in their entirety. On November 21, 2019, the Court granted Doe’s motion for attorney fees in the total amount of $107,790.15.

On September 27, 2019, Barresi filed the instant motion for attorney fees and costs in the total amount of $23,636.00.[1] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hearing for this motion was continued from June 3, 2020 to July 28, 2020 at 1:30pm. On July 14, 2020, Shelton filed an opposition. On July 21, 2020, Barresi filed a reply.

Legal Standard

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (a)(10)(A), attorney fees when authorized by contract are allowable as costs and may be awarded upon a noticed motion pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (c)(5).

In determining what fees are reasonable, California courts apply the “lodestar” approach. (See, e.g., Holguin v. DISH Network LLC (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 1310, 1332.) This inquiry “begins with the ‘lodestar,’ i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate.” (See PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) From there, the “[t]he lodestar figure may then be adjusted, based on consideration of factors specific to the case, in order to fix the fee at the fair market value for the legal services provided.” (Ibid.) Relevant factors include: “(1) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, (2) the skill displayed in presenting them, (3) the extent to which the nature of the litigation precluded other employment by the attorneys, [and] (4) the contingent nature of the fee award.” (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132.)

Discussion

As a preliminary matter, the Court reminds the parties that “Electronic documents must by electronically filed in PDF, text searchable format when technologically feasible without impairment of the document’s image.” (First Amended General Order re Mandatory Electronic Filing for Civil, 5/3/19.)

Right to Recover

Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, subdivision (c)(1), provides that “a prevailing defendant on a special motion to strike shall be entitled to recover his or her attorney’s fees and costs.” As the prevailing cross-defendant, Doe is entitled to seek her attorney fees in connection with her anti-SLAPP motion.

The parties do not dispute that Barresi is entitled to attorney fees and costs. The only dispute is as to the reasonableness of the amounts sought.

Defendant’s Opposition

Defendant Shelton opposes contending that the fees sought are excessive, especially in light of the fact that Barresi filed merely a notice of joinder as to Doe’s anti-SLAPP motion.

Reasonableness of Attorney’s Fees

The trial court has broad authority to determine the amount of a reasonable fee. (PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) The party bears the burden of proof as to “reasonableness” of any fee claim. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1033.5, subd. (c)(5).) The party seeking fees has the burden of documenting the appropriate hours expended and hourly rates. (City of Colton v. Singletary (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 751, 784.) 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.)

An attorney's testimony as to the number of hours worked is sufficient evidence to support an award of attorney fees, even in the absence of detailed time records or billing statements, and there is no requirement that such records or statements be offered in evidence. (Steiny & Co., Inc. v. California Electric Supply Co. (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 285, 293.) Ascertaining the fee amount is left to the trial court’s sound discretion. (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132.) Moreover, “[t]here is ‘no mathematical rule requiring proportionality between compensatory damages and attorney's fees awards’, [Citation], and courts have awarded attorney's fees where plaintiffs recovered only nominal or minimal damages.” (Harman v. City and County of San Francisco (2007) 158 Cal.App.4th 407, 421.)

Hourly Rates

Attorney S. Michael Kernan

Attorney S. Michael Kernan (“Kernan”) is counsel of record for Barresi and billed at an hourly rate of $495.00. (Kernan Decl ¶ 2.)

Kernan has 20 years of experience in entertainment and first amendment litigation, has worked multiple high-profile cases, and teaches Entertainment Law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Hastings College of Law. (Ibid.)

Attorney Paul Katrinak

Attorney R. Paul Katrinak (“Katrinak”), is counsel of record for Barresi and billed at an hourly rate of $495.00. (Katrinak Decl. ¶ 11.)

Katrinak has 21 years of experience as an attorney and extensive entertainment and first amendment litigation, has worked at Lavely & Singer a prominent Los Angeles entertainment firm for three and a half years. (Id. ¶ 10.)

Kelsey M. Schultz

Kelsey M Schultz (“Schultz”) has been a law clerk at the Kernan Firm since May 2017 and an hourly rate of $250. (Schultz Decl. ¶¶ 1-2.)

Shelton does not oppose the hourly rates of any of Doe’s attorneys. Accordingly, the court finds the rates to be reasonable based on the attorneys’ rates and experience.

Hours Spent

Shelton contends that the hours are excessive and not reasonably spent.

Here, Barresi states that Kernan spent 16.7 hours at $495 an hour in conjunction with the anti-SLAPP motion and instant motion for attorney fees for and intends to spend another 8.5 hours to reply, prepare and attend the hearing on this motion. (Kernan Decl. ¶¶ 3-4.) Barresi further states that Katrinak spent 21.6 hours at $495 an hour in conjunction with the anti-SLAPP motion. (Katrinak ¶ 12.) Finally, Schultz spent 1.4 hours at $250 an hour with conjunction with the anti-SLAPP motion. (Schultz Decl. ¶4.)

The Court acknowledges that anti-SLAPP motions are complex motions that require skill, time, and extensive research in an ever-evolving area of the law. Barresi’s anti-SLAPP motion involved three causes of action and two notably difficult issues, one involving whether service of process is protected activity and the other whether the litigation privilege applies. Initially, Barresi filed a motion for joinder as to Plaintiff Doe’s anti-SLAPP motion rather than a full memorandum. However, Barresi’s filed a supplemental brief for the anti-SLAPP motion following the hearing. (Reply Katrinak Decl. ¶ 4.) Indeed, in its final ruling on the anti-SLAPP motion, the court relied in part on authority that Barresi cited in his supplemental brief. Thus, the court finds that the hours claimed for the anti-SLAPP motion are reasonable.

However, the court finds the hours claimed for the instant motion for attorney fees is excessive. In the moving papers Barresi estimates a total of 16.4 hours for this motion for attorney fees. In reply, Barresi then claims an additional 7.3 hours for time spent preparing this motion. (Reply Katrinak ¶ 6.) This amount of time spent by Kernan and Katrinak on a relatively simple and straightforward motion for attorney fees is unreasonable, especially considering their expertise, as noted above. Further, Barresi’s claim that Counsel have reduced their hourly rates by 30% still does not support the amount of time requested especially considering the simplicity of Shelton’s opposition to the instant motion. Accordingly, the court in light of these circumstances will award a total of 10 hours for preparing the moving and reply papers and appearance at the instant motion for attorney fees and not the total 23.7 requested.

Accordingly, utilizing a lodestar approach, and in view of the totality of the circumstances, the court finds that the total and reasonable amount of attorney’s fees incurred is $19,853.00

Costs

Under Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5 the costs are allowable and undisputed. Accordingly, costs of $120 are granted. (Kernan Decl. ¶ 6.)

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

For the foregoing reasons, Barresi’s motion for attorney fees is GRANTED in the total amount of $19,853.00. Costs of $120 are awarded to Barresi.

Barresi is ordered to provide notice of this order and file proof of service of such.

DATED: July 28, 2020 ___________________________

Elaine Lu

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] Barresi requests an additional $3,118.50 for additional time spent on his reply for a total of $26,634.50.

Case Number: BC685310    Hearing Date: November 21, 2019    Dept: 26

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 26

JANE DOE,

Plaintiff,

v.

JABARI SHELTON p/k/a A$AP BARI, et al

Defendants.

Case No.: BC685310

Hearing Date: November 21, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

PLAINTIFF/CROSS-DEFENDANT jane doe’s motion for attorney fees

BACKGROUND

On November 30, 2017, Plaintiff Jane Doe (“Doe”) filed a complaint against Defendants Jabari Shelton p/k/a A$AP BARI (“Shelton”) and Does 1-10 for (1) sexual assault and battery; (2) invasion of privacy – intrusion on seclusion; and (3) invasion of privacy – public disclosure of private facts. Doe asserts that Jabari entered her hotel room on July 9, 2017, demanded she have sexual intercourse with him, and sexually assaulted and battered her after she refused and fled to the bathroom. Doe asserts that Doe 1 videotaped the attack and that Jabari and Doe 1 published the video online to further harass and humiliate her. Doe asserts Jabari and his counsel subsequently demanded that Doe lie to the media by releasing a joint statement that there was no misconduct by Jabari and that the parties had resolved their dispute amicably and implied that they would release her identity if she did not agree to make such a statement.

On July 13, 2018, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Shelton filed a cross-complaint against Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant Doe and Cross-Defendants Paul Barresi (“Barresi”) and Roes 1 through 10 for: (1) slander; (2) civil extortion; and (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress. Shelton alleges he did not commit misconduct. Shelton alleged that his and Doe’s representatives communicated about releasing a public statement to ease the impact the video of Doe might have on either of them, and there was no accusation of sexual assault during any of these interactions. Shelton alleged that only after Doe retained counsel did she begin to make the sexual assault claims. Shelton alleged that Doe’s counsel retained Barresi to effect service of the summons and complaint in this action and that Barresi employed deceptive, false, harassing, and extortionate techniques as part of the “shakedown operation” orchestrated by Doe and her counsel, such as repeatedly calling Shelton’s mother to harass her, making false statements to Shelton’s mother that Shelton had committed multiple crimes, and threatening Shelton with the possibility of criminal prosecution unless Shelton settled.

On August 27, 2018, Doe filed a special motion to strike Shelton’s cross-complaint (the “anti-SLAPP motion”). Barresi filed a notice of joinder. Shelton opposed.

On July 31, 2019, the Court granted Doe’s motion and Barresi’s motion by way of joinder in their entirety.

On September 27, 2019, Doe filed this motion for attorney fees and costs in the total amount of $147,755.15 incurred in connection with Doe’s anti-SLAPP motion and this motion for attorney fees. Specifically, Doe seeks $138,865.00 for the anti-SLAPP motion, $2,870.15 for costs, and $6,020.00 for this motion for attorney fees.

On October 7, 2019, Shelton opposed. Shelton argues that the fees are unreasonably inflated without proper documentation.

On October 14, 2019, Doe filed her reply.

Doe’s motion is currently before the Court.

Although not currently before the Court, the Court notes that Barresi also filed a motion for attorney fees. That motion is set for a hearing on June 3, 2020.

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (a)(10)(A), attorney fees when authorized by contract are allowable as costs and may be awarded upon a noticed motion pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (c)(5).

In determining what fees are reasonable, California courts apply the “lodestar” approach. (See, e.g., Holguin v. DISH Network LLC (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 1310, 1332.) This inquiry “begins with the ‘lodestar,’ i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate.” (See PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) From there, the “[t]he lodestar figure may then be adjusted, based on consideration of factors specific to the case, in order to fix the fee at the fair market value for the legal services provided.” (Ibid.) Relevant factors include: “(1) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, (2) the skill displayed in presenting them, (3) the extent to which the nature of the litigation precluded other employment by the attorneys, [and] (4) the contingent nature of the fee award.” (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132.)

EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS

Doe has submitted evidentiary objections to the declaration submitted by John M. Genga (Shelton’s counsel). The Court rules as follows.

Declaration of John M. Genga

The above evidentiary rulings have not had a meaningful impact on the Court’s determination of Doe’s motion for attorney’s fees.

Discussion

Right to Recover

Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, subdivision (c)(1), provides that “a prevailing defendant on a special motion to strike shall be entitled to recover his or her attorney’s fees and costs.” As the prevailing cross-defendant, Doe is entitled to seek her attorney fees in connection with her anti-SLAPP motion.

The parties do not dispute that Doe is entitled to attorney fees and costs. The only dispute is as to the reasonableness of the amounts sought.

Reasonableness of Fees – Anti-SLAPP Motion

Doe seeks attorney fees in the amount of $138,865.00 in connection with her anti-SLAPP motion.

Doe argues that her attorneys performed numerous tasks in connection with her anti-SLAPP motion, which involved complex issues of fact and law. (Motion 4:16-23.) Specifically, Doe notes that the complex legal issues included whether effectuation of process qualified as protected activity, the application of litigation privilege, and whether Shelton could meet his burden on his claims and damages. (Id. 4:24-5:6.) In connection with her request for attorney fees, Doe submits the declaration of Todd S. Eagan that states four attorneys worked on Doe’s anti-SLAPP motion in different amounts and at different rates:

Name (title, experience)

Hours Worked

Hourly rate

Total Amount

Todd S. Eagan (member, “nearly 20 years”)

110.2

$675

$74,385

Todd S. Eagan (attorney, “nearly 20 years”)

16.2

$725[1]

$11,745.00

Martin D. Singer (partner, “over 40 years”)

13.4

$1,100

$14,740.00

Martin D. Singer (partner, “over 40 years”)

1.5

$1,200[2]

$1,800.00

Melissa Y. Lerner (associate, 7 years)

23.8

$475

$11,305.00

Melissa Y. Lerner (associate, 7 years)

3.4

$500[3]

$1,700.00

Jake A. Camara (associate, 4 years)

70.5

$275

$19,387.50

Jake A. Camara (associate, 4 years)

11.7

$325[4]

$3,802.50

Total Fees:

$138,865.00

(Eagan Decl. ¶¶ 5-10.[5]) Doe argues that her attorneys’ rates are reasonable in comparison to comparable attorneys.

Shelton contends that Doe’s fee request is unreasonable. Specifically, Shelton argues that Doe used an excessive number of attorneys for an excessive amount of time. Shelton identifies that Eagan’s time amounted to three times the hours spent by Shelton’s counsel. Asserting that the fee request appears unreasonably inflated, Shelton requests the Court to deny the fee request altogether.

The trial court has broad authority to determine the amount of a reasonable fee. (PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) The party bears the burden of proof as to “reasonableness” of any fee claim. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1033.5, subd. (c)(5).) The party seeking fees has the burden of documenting the appropriate hours expended and hourly rates. (City of Colton v. Singletary (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 751, 784.) 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.)

An attorney's testimony as to the number of hours worked is sufficient evidence to support an award of attorney fees, even in the absence of detailed time records or billing statements, and there is no requirement that such records or statements be offered in evidence. (Steiny & Co., Inc. v. California Electric Supply Co. (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 285, 293.)

Ascertaining the fee amount is left to the trial court’s sound discretion. (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132.)

As a preliminary matter, Shelton does not oppose the hourly rates of any of Doe’s attorneys. The Court finds the rates reasonable based on the attorneys’ rates and experience. (569 East County Boulevard LLC v. Backcountry Against the Dump, Inc. (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 426, 436-437.)

The Court is unconvinced by Shelton’s argument about Doe’s lack of evidence that her attorneys’ time spent on working on this case should not be compensated.

However, upon a review of the Eagan Declaration, the Court concurs that the number of hours sought by Doe is unreasonable. The Court acknowledges that anti-SLAPP motions are complex motions that require skill, time, and extensive research in an ever-evolving area of the law. However, Doe’s anti-SLAPP motion involved three causes of action and only two notably difficult issues, one involving whether service of process is protected activity and the other whether the litigation privilege applies. A combined 250.7 hours by 4 different attorneys appears to be excessive, especially when considering Shelton’s sole counsel spent 41.9 hours to prepare the opposition, notwithstanding the opposition did not succeed. Accordingly, the Court finds that Doe does not meet her burden to support the reasonableness of the specific amount sought. The Court finds that $100,395.00 adequately and reasonably compensates Cross-Defendant for the total amount of attorney fees for her anti-SLAPP motion.

Reasonableness of Fees – Motion for Attorney Fees

Doe seeks attorney fees in the amount of $6,020.00 in connection with this motion for attorney fees broken down as follows:

Name (title, experience)

Hours Worked

Hourly rate

Total Amount

Jake A. Camara (associate, 4 years)

9.6 (prepare motion)

$325

$3,120

Todd S. Eagan (attorney, “nearly 20 years”)

2.0 (review opposition and prepare reply)

$725

$1,450

Todd S. Eagan (attorney, “nearly 20 years”)

2.0 (prepare for and attend hearing)

$725

$1,450

Total Fees:

$6,020

(Eagan Decl. ¶¶ 5, 10, 13.)

The Court finds the amount of time to prepare this motion to be unreasonable. Doe’s motion for attorney fees is 13 pages long (8 pages for points and authorities and 5 pages for the declaration excluding exhibits) and not complex. The Court finds five hours to prepare the motion to be reasonable.

Therefore, the Court awards $4,525.00 in attorney fees in connection with the motion for attorney fees.

Costs

Doe seeks costs in the amount of $2,870.15. Shelton does not oppose that amount. Therefore, the Court grants Doe’s request for costs in that amount.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Accordingly, Doe’s motion for attorney fees and costs is GRANTED in the total amount of $107,790.15 ($100,395.00 fees for the anti-SLAPP motion, $4,525.00 fees for this attorney fees motion, and $2,870.15 costs.)

Doe is ordered to provide notice of this order and file proof of service of such.

DATED: November 21, 2019 ___________________________

Elaine Lu

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] Eagan’s hourly rate increased on May 1, 2019 for unspecified reasons. (Eagan Decl. ¶ 5.)

[2] Singer’s hourly rate increased on May 1, 2019 for unspecified reasons. (Eagan Decl. ¶ 5.)

[3] Lerner’s hourly rate increased on May 1, 2019 for unspecified reasons. (Eagan Decl. ¶ 5.)

[4] Camara’s hourly rate increased on May 1, 2019 for unspecified reasons. (Eagan Decl. ¶ 5.)

[5] There is no Paragraph “6.”

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