This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/04/2019 at 00:12:37 (UTC).

WILLIE BROWN VS MERCEDES BENZ USA LLC

Case Summary

On 04/05/2017 WILLIE BROWN 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 Judges overseeing this case are DANIEL S. MURPHY and SAMANTHA JESSNER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6747

  • Filing Date:

    04/05/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

DANIEL S. MURPHY

SAMANTHA JESSNER

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

BROWN WILLIE

Defendants

DOE 1 TO 10

MERCEDES BENZ USA LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

BICKEL BRIAN J. ESQ.

Respondent and Defendant Attorney

LEHRMAN KATE S. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION OF DERRICK FRANKLIN

8/23/2018: PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION OF DERRICK FRANKLIN

DECLARATION OF ROBERT A. PHILIPSON IN OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION OF DERRICK FRANKLIN

9/26/2018: DECLARATION OF ROBERT A. PHILIPSON IN OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION OF DERRICK FRANKLIN

Minute Order

11/5/2018: Minute Order

Order

12/5/2018: Order

Minute Order

12/5/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

12/10/2018: Minute Order

Order

1/10/2019: Order

Minute Order

1/10/2019: Minute Order

Motion in Limine

4/9/2019: Motion in Limine

Opposition

4/15/2019: Opposition

Minute Order

4/18/2019: Minute Order

Motion in Limine

4/23/2019: Motion in Limine

Motion in Limine

4/23/2019: Motion in Limine

Motion in Limine

4/23/2019: Motion in Limine

Motion in Limine

4/23/2019: Motion in Limine

Motion in Limine

4/23/2019: Motion in Limine

Motion in Limine

4/23/2019: Motion in Limine

Motion in Limine

4/23/2019: Motion in Limine

76 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/06/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Daniel S. Murphy, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 05/06/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/06/2019
  • DocketNotice of Settlement; Filed by Willie Brown (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/03/2019
  • Docketat 10:28 AM in Department 1, Samantha Jessner, Presiding; Nunc Pro Tunc Order

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  • 05/03/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Daniel S. Murphy, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (for an Order Continuing May 5, 2019 Trial Date; Declaration of Benson Y. Douglas) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Court

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  • 05/03/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for an Order Continuing May 5...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/03/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Nunc Pro Tunc Order)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/30/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Daniel S. Murphy, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Trailed

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketOrder Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

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116 More Docket Entries
  • 08/07/2017
  • DocketMinute Order

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  • 08/07/2017
  • DocketCase Management Order; Filed by Court

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  • 05/25/2017
  • DocketMERCEDES-BENZ USA, LLC'S ANSWER: TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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  • 05/25/2017
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Mercedes Benz USA, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 05/16/2017
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 05/16/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/17/2017
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 04/05/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 04/05/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Willie Brown (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/05/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF THE SONG-BEVERLY CONSUMER WARRANTY ACT

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****6747    Hearing Date: November 06, 2020    Dept: 32

WILLIE BROWN,

Plaintiff,

v.

MERCEDES-BENZ USA, LLC; et. al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: ****6747

Hearing Date: November 6, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

PLAINTIFF’S MOTION For Attorney fees

BACKGROUND

This is a lemon law case. Plaintiff Willie Brown (“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint for violation of statutory obligations against Defendants Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (“Defendant”).

LEGAL STANDARD

If the buyer prevails in an action under the Song-Beverly Act, “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(d).)

For Song-Beverly Act claims, a prevailing buyer has the burden of showing that the fees incurred (1) were allowable, (2) were reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation, and (3) were reasonable in amount. (Doppes v. Bentley Motors, Inc. (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 967, 998.)

“The verified time statements of the attorneys, as officers of the court, are entitled to credence in the absence of a clear indication the records are erroneous.” (Horsford v. Board Of Trustees Of California State University (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 359, 396.) If the motion is supported by evidence, the opposing party must respond with specific evidence showing that the fees are unreasonable. (Premier Med. Mgmt. Sys. v. California Ins. Guarantee Ass’n (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 550, 560-63.) The Court has discretion to reduce fees that result from inefficient or duplicative use of time. (Horsford, supra, 132 Cal.App.4th at 395.)

In determining a reasonable attorney fee, the trial court begins with the lodestar, i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. (Warren v. Kia Motors America, Inc. (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th 24, 36.) The lodestar may then be adjusted based on factors specific to the case in order to fix the fee at the fair market value of the legal services provided. (Ibid.) These facts 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, (4) the contingent nature of the fee award. (Ibid.)

ANALYSIS

Plaintiff moves for an award of attorney fees in the amount of $265,054.00.

A. Entitlement to Attorney Fees

It is undisputed that Plaintiff is the prevailing party in this action. As prevailing party in this action, Plaintiff is entitled to a reasonable amount of attorney fees. The only issue raised in this motion is the reasonableness of the requested amount of attorney fees, costs, and expenses.

B. Reasonableness of Fees

1. Reasonable Hourly Rates

The hourly rates claimed by Plaintiff’s attorneys who worked on this case are: (1) Brian Bickel, Esq. 655.00/hr; (2) Jordan Sannipoli, Esq. 425.00 to 495/hr.; (3) David McGaffey, Esq. 365.00 to 415.00/hr; (4) Ashley Kaye, Esq. 335.00 to 395.00/hr; (5) Joshua Youssefi, Esa 355.00/hr; (6) John Webber, Esq. 335.00/hr; (7) Isaac Agyeman, Esq. 335.00/hr; (8) Stephanie Pengilley, Esq. 425/hr.; (8) Andre Lallnade, Esq 355/hr; (9) C. Brian Wagner, Esq 425/hr; (10) Ericka Kavicky, Esq. 515/hr; (11) John Solis, Esq. 425.00/hr; (12) Marcus Musante 495.00/hr; (13) Arianeh Sajadi, Esq 425/hr; (14) Ronald Stewart, Esq. 485/hr.; (15) John Myers, Esq 435/hr.; (16) Six Law Clerk 135.00 to 195.00/hr; (17) Four Legal Assistants 145/hr.

“In determining hourly rates, the court must look to the ‘prevailing market rates in the relevant community.’” (Heritage Pacific Financial, LLC v. Monroy (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 972, 100.) In making this determination, “[t]he court may rely on its own knowledge and familiarity with the legal market.” (Ibid.)

The Court finds that $350 per hour is the reasonable hourly rate in this case.

2. Hours Reasonably Expended

The total number of billable hours claimed by Plaintiff’s attorneys is hours 727.6 (565.2 attorney hours and 162.6 law clerk/paralegal/legal assistant hours.) The hour claimed by the Plaintiff’s attorneys who worked on this case are: (1) Brian Bickel, Esq. 14.7 hrs; (2) Jordan Sannipoli, Esq. 104.9 hrs; (3) David McGaffey, Esq 223.1 hrs; (4) Ashley Kaye, Esq. 59.7 hrs; (5) Joshua Youssefi, Esa 80.5 hrs. (6) John Webber, Esq. 18.9 hrs; (7) Isaac Agyeman 9.3 hrs; (8) Stephanie Pengilley, Esq. 9.3 hrs; (8) Andre Lallnade, Esq. 9.2 hrs; (9) C. Brian Wagner, Esq. 7.6 hrs; (10) Ericka Kavicky, Esq. 6.6 hrs; (11) John Solis, Esq. 6.1 hrs; (12) Marcus Musante 3.0 hrs; (13) Arianeh Sajadi, Esq 1.8 hrs; (14) Ronald Stewart, Esq. .8 hrs; (15) John Myers, Esq .3 hrs; (16) Six Law Clerk 158.7 hrs; (17) Four Legal Assistants 3.7 hrs.

Defendant claims that the number of hours billed is unreasonable.

The Court finds that the reasonable hours spent by plaintiff’s attorneys in this matter are 320 hours.

In making this determination, the court found that plaintiff’s counsel inappropriately billed for some clerical tasks and that some of the billing was excessive, especially for attorneys as experienced as plaintiff’s counsel. Plaintiff had 15 attorneys and 10 paralegal/law clerks/legal assistants working on this case. While plaintiff has the right to have multiple attorneys, the court finds that some of the attorneys’ work were duplicative and redundant. The court also found that some of the work was unnecessary.

C. Multiplier

Plaintiff requests a lodestar multiplier enhancement. Defendant requests a negative lodestar multiplier.

The Court finds that an upward adjustment to the lodestar is not warranted in this action. This was a straight forward lemon law case. There is no evidence that Plaintiff’s counsel was precluded from taking other cases. A downward adjustment to the lodestar is not warranted either as Plaintiff’s counsel took this case on a contingency.

D. Entitlement and Reasonableness of Costs

Plaintiff requests a total of $29,825.34 in costs and expenses. Defendant contends that the Court should deny Plaintiff’s request because most of the costs sought are not recoverable under CCP section 1033.5. (Opp. at 9-10.) However, under the Song-Beverly Act, a prevailing buyer may recover both “costs” and “expenses” determined by the court to have been reasonably incurred by the buyer in connection with the commencement and prosecution of the action. (Civ. Code ; 1794(d).) “Expenses” covers items not included in the detailed statutory definition of “costs.” (Jensen v. BMW of North America, Inc. (1995) 35 Cal.App.4th 112, 137.) In this case, Defendant has failed to show that any of the purportedly nonrecoverable costs are not “expenses” within the meaning of the Song-Beverly Act. Accordingly, Defendant’s argument is unpersuasive.

D. Conclusion

Based on the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees is GRANTED. The Court awards $112,000 in attorney fees and $29,825.34 in costs.



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