United States District Court, D. Hawaii
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT IN PART AND DEMY
IN PART YMCA'5 MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND
Richard L. Puglisi, United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is Petitioner YMCA'S Motion for Attorneys'
Fees and Costs, filed on June 12, 2018 ("Motion").
ECF No. 16. Respondent filed its Opposition on July 10, 2018.
ECF No. 21. Petitioner filed its Reply on July 24, 2018. ECF
No. 23. The Court found this matter suitable for disposition
without a hearing pursuant to Local Rule 54.3(f). ECF No. 20.
After careful consideration of the submissions of the parties
and the relevant legal authority, the Court FINDS AND
RECOMMENDS that the district court GRANT IN PART AND DENY IN
PART Petitioner's Motion.
initiated this action on March 7, 2018, by filing a Motion
for Order Confirming Arbitration Award, seeking confirmation
of the arbitration award pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes
Section 658A. See ECF No. 1. On June 5 2018, the
district court issued its Order Granting Petitioner's
Motion for Order Confirming Arbitration Award and Denying
Respondent's Countermotion to Vacate or Correct the
arbitration Award. ECF No. 14. In that Order, the district
court expressly held that Hawaii Revised Statutes Section
658A governed this action. Id. at 9-11. Judgment was
entered in Petitioner's favor on June 5, 2018. ECF No.
15. The present Motion followed.
Entitlement to Attorneys' Fees
requests an award of $16, 749.21 in attorneys' fees and
$400 in costs pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes Section
658A-25(c). Under Hawaii law, "attorneys' fees
cannot be awarded as damages or costs unless so provided by
statute, stipulation, or agreement." Stanford Carr
Dev. Corp. v. United House, Inc., 305141 P.3d 459, 478
(Haw. 2006) (citation omitted). Section 658A-25(c) provides
that a court may award reasonable attorney's fees and
expenses to the "prevailing party to a contested
judicial proceeding" after the court confirms an
arbitration award. Haw. Rev. Stat, § 658A-25(c).
Petitioner filed a motion to confirm the arbitration award on
March 7, 2018, pursuant to Section 65 8A-22. ECF No. 1.
Respondent contested the confirmation and filed a
countermotion seeking to vacate or correct the arbitration
award pursuant to Sections 658A-23 and 658A-24. ECF No. 7.
Judgment was entered in favor of Petitioner. See ECF
Nos. 14, 15. Because Respondent opposed the confirmation and
sought to vacate or correct the award, the Court finds that
this action was a contested judicial proceeding as defined by
Section 658A-25(c). Further, in light of the fact that
judgment was entered in favor of Petitioner, the Court finds
that Petitioner is the prevailing party. Although Respondent
is correct in noting that an award of attorneys' fees
under Section 658A-25 is not mandatory, Respondent provides
no basis for the Court to exercise its discretion to deny
Petitioner's request for fees. See ECF No. 21 at 4-5;
compare Ventress v. Japan Airlines, No. CV 07-00581
SPK-LEK, 2008 WL 763185, at *7 (D. Haw. Mar. 20, 2008),
aff'd, 603 F.3d 676 (9th Cir. 2010) (denying an
award of fees under Section 658A-25 because the plaintiff was
a pro se individual). Accordingly, the Court concludes that
Petitioner is entitled to an award of reasonable
attorneys' fees and expenses under Section 658A-25.
Calculation of Attorneys' Fees
courts calculate the reasonableness of attorneys' fees
based on a method that is nearly identical to the traditional
"lodestar" calculation set forth in Hensley v.
Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 433 (1983). See Gurrobat v.
HTH Corp., 346 P.3d 197, 207 (Haw. 2015). The Court
determines a reasonable fee by multiplying the reasonable
hourly rate by the number of hours reasonably expended.
Id. The lodestar amount is presumed reasonable;
however, the court may adjust the lodestar figure based on an
evaluation of several factors. Id. at 207-09.
requests the following attorneys' fees for work performed
by its counsel:
Paul Alston, Esq .
$1, 145 . 50
Nickolas A. Kacprowski, Esq .
$8, 100 . 00
Wendy F . Hanakahi, Esq .
$6, 750 . 00
$15, 995 . 50
4 . 712% Hawaii General Excise Tax
Reasonable Hourly Rate
courts determine the reasonable hourly rate by considering
"prevailing market rates in the relevant
community." Kaleikini v. Yoshioka, 304 P.3d
252, 2/0 (Haw. 2013). Respondent does not object ...