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Court Declines to Reduce Fee Award due to Case Complexity

In a recent case, 1899 Holdings, LLC v. 1899 LLC, No. CV CCB-12-297, 2015 WL 6560014, at *5 (D. Md. Oct. 27, 2015) the court concluded that the defendants request of $195,232.00 in fees and $8,489.81 in expenses was reasonable.

The plaintiffs alleged that the fee award was unreasonable because the defendants spent excessive time on simple legal issues. For example, the plaintiffs claimed that spending 17 hours researching and preparing a notice of removal was unreasonable. However the defendants pointed out that it was actually quite complex because it required the firm to identify the citizenship of the members of several liability companies. (See 1899 Holdings, LLC v. 1899 LL, 2015 WL 6560014, at *6).

The plaintiffs further contended that 85 hours spent preparing an initial motion to dismiss was excessive. However, the motion to dismiss sought 10 million from four defendants and was premised on a breach of a 92 page operating agreement and a 23 count complaint (See 1899 Holdings, LLC v. 1899 LL, 2015 WL 6560014, at *6), in addition to addressing numerous other allegations propounded by the plaintiffs. Because the defendants were able to answer the plaintiff’s objections to its fee affidavit, the court did not second guess the decisions of the attorneys here.

This case illustrates that although tasks may seem uncomplicated at first blush, if the attorneys can sufficiently support their billing records, their motion for fees will be granted.

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