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Painsolvers, Inc v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

September 24, 2012

PAINSOLVERS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, AN ENTITY FORM UNKNOWN; DOES 1-30, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alan C. Kay Sr. United States District Judge

ORDER REAFFIRMING THE JUNE 28, 2012 ORDER ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION, AS SUPPLEMENTED, TO GRANT IN PART AND DENY IN PART PLAINTIFF PAINSOLVERS, INC.'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS, AND ADOPTING THE SUPPLEMENT

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

As the parties are familiar with the facts and procedural history of this case, the Court will only provide a brief overview of the proceedings most relevant to the current issue before the Court. On December 8, 2011, following settlement with defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("Defendant"), Plaintiff Painsolvers, Inc. ("Plaintiff") filed a Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs (Doc. No. 109), as well as a Statement of Consultation (Doc. No. 110). On December 28, 2011, Defendant filed a Counter Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs*fn2 and Opposition to the Motion. (Doc. No. 112.) Plaintiff filed a Reply on January 11, 2012. (Doc. No. 115.)

On February 28, 2012, upon review of the parties' submissions and application of the relevant case law, Magistrate Judge Chang issued a Findings and Recommendation that Plaintiff's Motion be granted in part and denied in part, and that Plaintiff be awarded $131,180.68 in attorneys' fees and tax (the "F&R"). Id. at 26. Both Plaintiff and Defendant filed objections to the F&R (see Doc. Nos. 122, 123), as well as responses to each other's objections (Doc. Nos. 124, 125). On May 31, 2012, the Court recommitted the part of the F&R recommending a reduction in attorneys' fees for work deemed excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary to the Magistrate Judge for further consideration. (Doc. No. 126.)

The Magistrate Judge subsequently issued a Supplement To Findings And Recommendation To Grant In Part And Deny In Part Plaintiff Painsolvers' Inc's Motion For Attorney's Fees And Costs on June 19, 2012. (Doc. No. 127, hereinafter the "Supplement.") In the Supplement, the Magistrate Judge elaborated on the reasons for his recommended reduction of 325.2 hours for Plaintiff's counsel's work that was deemed excessive, redundant, or otherwise unnecessary. Id. at 12. The Magistrate Judge also stated that the Supplement did not reopen the objection period normally authorized by Local Rule 74.2, reasoning that the Supplement solely addressed the concerns raised by the Court in its recommital order and did not change the Magistrate Judge's initial recommendation. Id. at 12-13.

Following careful review of the Supplement, on June 28, 2012, the Court issued an Order Adopting, As Supplemented, The Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendation to Grant in Part and Deny in Part Plaintiff Painsolvers, Inc.'s Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs. (Doc. No. 128, hereinafter the "June 28, 2012 Order.") In the order, the Court advised: "Should the parties believe that the Court's basis for the 325.2 hour reduction for excessive, duplicative, or unnecessary billing is inappropriate, following the Magistrate Judge's supplemental review, the parties may file a motion for reconsideration." (Order Adopting F&R as Supplemented at 30 n.17.)

On July 3, 2012, counsel for Plaintiff filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the June 28, 2012 Order. (Doc. No. 129.) Defendant filed an opposition memorandum on July 19, 2012. (Doc. No. 131.) Plaintiff subsequently filed a reply in support of its Motion for Reconsideration on July 23, 2012. (Doc. No. 132.) The Court issued an Order Granting Plaintiff Painsolvers, Inc.'s Motion for Reconsideration on July 31, 2012. (Doc. No. 133, hereinafter the "Order Granting Reconsideration.") The Court granted Plaintiff's motion to the extent that it sought an opportunity to object to new bases or reasoning set forth in the Magistrate Judge's supplement with respect to the recommended reduction of 325.2 hours from Plaintiff's attorney's fee request. Id. at 6. The Court provided the parties with 14 (fourteen) days from the date of the order to file objections to the Supplement. Id. at 1.

On August 13, 2012, Plaintiff filed an objection to the Supplement. (Doc. No. 134, "Plaintiff's Objection.") Defendant later filed an untimely "response," on August 27, 2012. (Doc. No. 135, "Defendant's Response.")*fn3 The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule 7.2(e).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Review of Magistrate Judge's Findings & Recommendation

A district court reviews de novo those portions of a magistrate judge's findings and recommendation to which an objection is made and may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings and recommendation made by the magistrate judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b); D. Haw. Local Rule 74.2.

The district court may accept those portions of the findings and recommendation that are not objected to if it is satisfied that there is no clear error on the face of the record. Stow v. Murashige, 288 F. Supp. 2d 1122, 1127 (D. Haw. 2003).

The district court may receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions. 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b)(1). It may also consider the record developed before the magistrate judge. D. Haw. Local Rule 74.2. The district court must arrive at its own independent conclusions about those portions of the magistrate judge's report to which objections are made, ...


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