United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR
ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS
Dennis Saylor, IV United States District Judge.
an action for breach of contract. Plaintiff Hefter Impact
Technologies, LLC (“HIT”) alleges that defendant
Sport Maska, Inc. (“CCM”) owes it royalties from
the sales certain ice-hockey helmets allegedly based on
filed a motion for sanctions for spoliation of evidence and
discovery misconduct. That motion was granted in part and
denied in part. Specifically, the Court held that although
sanctions were not warranted, it was nonetheless reasonable
under the circumstances for HIT to bring the motion, and the
Court ordered CCM to pay HIT's reasonable attorneys'
fees and costs related to the motion for sanctions.
filed an application for fees and costs, requesting a total
of $54, 152.61. CCM filed a response, contending that HIT is
at most entitled to $12, 665.46. For the reasons stated
below, the Court will award HIT $16, 219.83 in fees and
motion for sanctions for spoliation of evidence and discovery
misconduct alleged, among other things, that CCM (1)
destroyed e-mail after being notified of the litigation and
(2) wiped the contents of employee Laura Gibson's laptop
and discarded her handwritten notes.
Court ruled that while “CCM's response to the
document production request was very far from ideal, ”
the record did “not support a finding that any relevant
e-mails were actually destroyed.” Mem. & Order on
Pl.'s Mot. for Sanctions at 13. With respect to the
laptop and notebooks, the Court found that there was at least
a cursory effort to ensure that relevant evidence on the
laptop was preserved prior to its being wiped, and that there
was insufficient evidence to find that CCM acted
intentionally to deprive HIT of evidence or that HIT would
the Court found:
[T]he combination of CCM's failure to preserve the
notebooks, its somewhat lackadaisical approach to document
production, and its aggressive document destruction policies
has created substantial issues in this case. At a minimum, it
has complicated the discovery process. Hefter's decision
to bring this motion, although not ultimately successful, was
an entirely reasonable response under the circumstances.
Accordingly, the sanction that the Court will impose is that
CCM will be required to pay the reasonable attorneys'
fees and costs HIT incurred in bringing this motion.
Id. at 16-17.
submitted an application for fees on August 25, 2017,
supported by affidavits from attorneys Giovanni Ruscitti and
Giles Krill, a list of time entries, a bill of costs incurred
by the firm, and an invoice from the court reporter relating
to the September 26-27, 2016 deposition of Laura Gibson.
time sheets reflect the practice of block billing-that is,
each attorney's time entry for a given day contains only
the total number of hours spent by that attorney on
plaintiff's matter that day and does not break down the
time spent on discrete tasks within that matter.
Acknowledging this, for each entry reflecting work related to
the sanctions motion billed together with other work,
plaintiff's counsel has estimated the actual hours spent
on the sanctions motion alone and has reduced the charge for
that entry accordingly.
HIT seeks $9, 520 in legal fees associated with managing
discovery disputes and preparing for and taking Laura
Gibson's deposition (Ruscitti Aff. Ex. 1 at 28-50); $31,
755.50 in legal fees associated with preparing the motion for
sanctions (Ruscitti Aff. Ex. 1 at 50-76); $6, 497.50 in legal
fees associated with preparing the application for fees
(Ruscitti Aff. Ex. 1 at 77-78); $6, 214.15 costs associated
with the Gibson deposition (Ruscitti Aff. Ex. 2 at 3, 6-8);