Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Andrade v. Gaurino

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

September 19, 2019

MILLICENT ANDRADE, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
ABNER GAURINO, ET AL., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT ASSOCIATION OF APARTMENT OWNERS OF DIAMOND HEAD SANDS MOTION FOR SUPPLEMENTAL AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS

          WES REBER PORTER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is Third Party Defendant Association of Apartment Owners of Diamond Head Sands (Association) Motion for Supplemental Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs, filed on August 2, 2019 (Motion). See ECF No. 501. The Association requests a supplemental award of attorneys' fees against Defendant Abigail Gaurino. See id. The Association filed a Statement of Consultation on August 15, 2019. See ECF No. 510. Defendant Abigail Gaurino did not file an opposition or other response to the Motion.

         After careful consideration of the Motion, the record in this action, and the relevant legal authority, the Court FINDS AND RECOMMENDS that the Association's Motion be GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         Because the parties and the Court are familiar with the history of this case, the Court includes only those facts relevant to the present Motion.

         Plaintiff Atooi Aloha, LLC entered into an agreement to purchase shares in exchange for the conveyance of certain real property (the Property). See ECF No. 30, First Amended Complaint, ¶ 37. The Property was conveyed to Defendant Abigail Gaurino. See id. The Association administers and operates the condominium project where the Property is located. See ECF No. 169-2, Crossclaim Against Defendant Abigail Lee Garuino, ¶ 3.

         In this action, Plaintiffs brought suit against Defendant Abigail Gaurino, APT-320 LLC, the holder of the Note and Mortgage on the Property, and others related, in part, to the conveyance of the Property. See ECF Nos. 1, 30. Defendant APT-320 LLC filed a Third-Party Complaint against the Association. See ECF No. 145. The Association then filed a Crossclaim against Defendant Abigail Gaurino asserting a claim for unpaid assessments and attorneys' fees and costs incurred by the Association. See ECF No. 169-2. On October 3, 2018, a stipulation resolving the Association's Crossclaim against Defendant Abigail Gaurino was approved and ordered by the district court (Stipulation and Order). See ECF No. 334. Pursuant to the Stipulation and Order, the Association is entitled to judgment against Defendant Abigail Gaurino on its crossclaim, including attorneys' fees and costs incurred by the Association. See id. at 6-7. The Stipulation and Order states that the Association had incurred through September 12, 2018, attorneys' fees and costs of $24, 995.89. See id. at 7.

         Judgment was entered based, in part, on the Stipulation and Order, by the Clerk on July 19, 2019. See ECF No. 484. The present Motion followed. See ECF No. 501. In the present Motion, the Association ask the Court to award additional attorneys' fees and costs against Defendant Abigail Gaurino that the Association has incurred since September 13, 2018. See id.

         DISCUSSION

         A federal court sitting in diversity applies state law in determining whether the prevailing party is entitled to attorney's fees. See Farmers Ins. Exch. v. Law Offices of Conrado Joe Sayas, Jr., 250 F.3d 1234, 1236 (9th Cir. 2001). Under Hawaii law, “[o]rdinarily, attorneys' fees cannot be awarded as damages or costs unless so provided by statute, stipulation, or agreement.” Stanford Carr Dev. Corp. v. Unity House, Inc., 141 P.3d 459, 478 (Haw. 2006) (citation omitted).

         As detailed above, the Stipulation and Order provides that the Association is entitled to an award against Defendant Abigail Gaurino for attorneys' fees and costs incurred by the Association. See ECF No. 334 ¶ 5. Based on the Stipulation and Order, the Court finds that the Association is entitled to an award of attorneys' fees and costs.

         Hawaii 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 DFS Grp. L.P. v. Paiea Props., 131 P.3d 500, 505 (Haw. 2006). Under the lodestar method, the court must determine a reasonable fee by multiplying a reasonable hourly rate by the number of hours reasonably expended. See id. 505-06. In addition, the court may consider additional factors including the novelty of the questions involved and charges for similar service in the community. See Chun v. Bd. of Trs. of Emps.' Ret. Sys. of Haw., 106 P.3d 339, 358 (Haw. 2005); Chun v. Bd. of Trs. of Emps.' Ret. Sys. of Haw., 992 P.2d 127, 137 (Haw. 2000).

         A. Reasonable Hourly Rate

         Hawaii courts consider the reasonable hourly rate in a manner similar to the traditional lodestar formulation, and some Hawaii state courts have considered federal law in determining a reasonable hourly rate. See, e.g., Cnty. of Haw. v. C & J Coupe Family Ltd. P'ship, 208 P.3d 713, 720 (Haw. 2009). The Court finds that federal case law regarding the determination of a reasonable hourly rate is instructive in this case. In determining whether an hourly rate is reasonable, the Court considers the experience, skill, and reputation of the attorney requesting fees. See Webb v. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.