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Full Spectrum Software, Inc. v. Forte Automation Sys., Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

August 27, 2015

FULL SPECTRUM SOFTWARE, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
FORTE AUTOMATION SYSTEMS, INC., Defendant

          For Full Spectrum Software, Inc., Plaintiff: Christian B.W. Stephens, David M McGlone, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, Boston, MA.

         For Forte Automation Systems, Inc., Defendant: Eric H. Loeffler, Matthew R. Watson, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Boston, MA; John Arne, PRO HAC VICE, Attorney at Law, Machesney Park, IL.

Page 302

         ORDER AND MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS

         TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for attorney's fees and costs. For the following reasons, the Court awards a total sum of $175,234.69.

Page 303

         Background

         Plaintiff Full Spectrum Software, Inc. (" Full Spectrum" ) filed this action on August 10, 2012, asserting claims arising out of a contract dispute with Defendant Forte Automation Systems, Inc. (" Forte" ). The complaint asserted counts for breach of contract, quantum meruit, replevin, declaratory judgment, and a violation of M.G.L. c. 93A. On June 26, 2015, following a five-day trial, a jury returned a verdict in favor of Full Spectrum in the amount of $483,053.75. Specifically, the jury found that Defendant Forte Automation Systems (1) breached an implied contract with Full Spectrum, and (2) violated M.G.L. c. 93A by engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in its business dealings with Full Spectrum. The jury awarded Full Spectrum $133,053.75 on the contract claim, and $350,000.00 on the 93A claim. Full Spectrum now seeks an award of attorney's fees and costs pursuant to M.G.L. c. 93A, § 11(6), requesting $332,324.15 in fees and $18,145.21 in costs, for a total award of $350,468.36.

         Discussion

         Legal Standard

         Having prevailed on its 93A claim, Full Spectrum is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees. Chapter 93A, § 11, paragraph 6 of the Massachusetts General Laws states:

If the court finds in any action commenced hereunder, that there has been a violation of section two, the petitioner shall, in addition to other relief provided for by this section and irrespective of the amount in controversy, be awarded reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in said action.

M.G.L. c. 93A § 11(6). In awarding attorney's fees under 93A, Massachusetts courts consider a number of factors, including: " the nature of the case and the issues presented, the time and labor required, the amount of damages involved, the result obtained, the experience, reputation and ability of the attorney, the usual price charged for similar services by other attorneys in the same area, and the amount of awards in similar cases." Linthicum v. Archambault, 379 Mass. 381, 388-89, 398 N.E.2d 482 (1979). " No one factor is determinative, and a factor-by-factor analysis, although helpful, is not required." Berman v. Linnane, 434 Mass. 301, 303, 748 N.E.2d 466 (2001). " What constitutes a reasonable fee is a question that is committed to the sound discretion of the judge." Id. at 302-03. Ultimately, " the amount awarded should be determined by what the services were objectively worth." Star Fin. Servs., Inc. v. AASTAR Mortg. Corp., 89 F.3d 5, 16 (1st Cir. 1996). Where, as here, " a single chain of events ...


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