United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
SINGER OIL COMPANY, LLC, an Oklahoma limited liability company, Plaintiff,
NEWFIELD EXPLORATION MID-CONTINENT, INC., a foreign corporation domesticated to do business in Oklahoma; and HALLIBURTON ENERGY SERVICES, INC., a foreign corporation domesticated to do business in Oklahoma, Defendants.
MILES-LaGRANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is defendant Halliburton Energy Services,
Inc.'s (“Halliburton”) Motion for
Attorneys' Fees, filed November 29, 2017. On December 7,
2017, plaintiff filed its response, and on December 14, 2017,
Halliburton filed its reply. Based upon the parties'
submissions, the Court makes its determination.
action, plaintiff alleged that one of its vertical wells had
been impacted by the completion of a horizontal well owned
and operated by defendant Newfield Exploration Mid-Continent,
Inc. (“Newfield”). Plaintiff alleged that
Halliburton was liable to it based upon certain well services
performed by Halliburton for Newfield on the horizontal well.
On October 6, 2017, the Court granted Halliburton's
motion for summary judgment. On November 20, 2017, the Court
entered judgment in favor of Halliburton and against
plaintiff. Halliburton now moves the Court to award it
attorneys' fees in the amount of $77, 529.50.
asserts that Halliburton's motion for attorneys' fees
is untimely. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
54(d)(2)(B), a motion for attorneys' fees must be filed
no later than 14 days after the entry of judgment. Rule 54
defines “judgment” as “any order from which
an appeal lies, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(a), and further
When an action presents more than one claim for relief -
whether as a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party
claim - or when multiple parties are involved, the court may
direct entry of a final judgment as to one or more, but fewer
than all, claims or parties only if the court expressly
determines that there is no just reason for delay. Otherwise,
any order or other decision, however designated, that
adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and
liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the
action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised
at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all
the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). Because this Court's October 6,
2017 Order granting summary judgment to Halliburton
adjudicated fewer than all claims and parties, it was not a
“judgment.” No. “judgment” was
entered in this case until November 20, 2017. Halliburton
filed its motion for attorneys' fees nine days after
judgment was entered. The Court, thus, finds that
Halliburton's motion for attorneys' fees is timely.
right to recover attorneys' fees is substantive and
therefore determined by state law in diversity cases.”
Pub. Serv. Co. of Colo. v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 26
F.3d 1508, 1520 (10th Cir. 1994) (internal citation omitted).
Under Oklahoma law, attorneys' fees may be awarded only
when authorized by statute or under the terms of an
enforceable contract. See Burrows Constr. Co. v. Indep.
Sch. Dist. No. 2 of Stephens Cty., 704 P.2d 1136, 1137
n.2 (Okla. 1985). Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 940(A)
In any civil action to recover damages for the negligent or
willful injury to property and any other incidental costs
related to such action, the prevailing party shall be allowed
reasonable attorney's fees, court costs and interest to
be set by the court and to be taxed and collected as other
costs of the action.
Stat. tit. 12, § 940(A). Further, the “prevailing
party” under § 940 “is the party for whom
judgment is rendered.” Underwriters at Lloyd's
of London v. N. Am. Van Lines, 829 P.2d 978, 981 (Okla.
response, plaintiff asserts that because Halliburton jointly
made an offer to confess judgment with Newfield and at trial,
plaintiff was awarded damages against Newfield in an amount
greater than the offer to confess judgment, Halliburton is
not a prevailing party. Plaintiff, however, cites to
absolutely no case law to support its assertion. Having
reviewed the parties' submissions, as well as
Oklahoma's statutory and case law, the Court finds that
plaintiff's assertion is without merit. Even if two
defendants make a joint offer to confess judgment, when
determining whether a defendant is a prevailing party, that
defendant must be viewed individually. In the case at bar,
judgment was rendered in favor of Halliburton and against
plaintiff. See November 20, 2017 Judgment [docket
no. 135]. Thus, the Court finds that Halliburton is the
prevailing party under § 940 and is entitled to an award
of attorneys' fees.
an award of attorneys' fees, the amount of fees must be
grounded on the touchstone of reasonableness. Under Oklahoma
law, the reasonableness of attorneys' fees is determined
using the following Burk factors: (1) the time and
labor required, (2) the novelty and difficulty of the
questions presented, (3) the skill requisite to perform the
legal service properly, (4) the preclusion of other
employment by the attorney due to acceptance of the case, (5)
the customary fee, (6) whether the fee is fixed or
contingent, (7) time limitations imposed by the client or the
circumstances, (8) the amount involved and the results
obtained, (9) the experience, reputation and ability of the
attorneys, (10) the “undesirability” of the case,
(11) the nature and length of the professional relationship
with the client, and (12) awards in similar cases. See
Burk, 598 P.2d at 661. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has
further held that “[reasonable value of services should
be predicated on the standards within the local legal
community.” Id. at 663.
carefully reviewed the parties' submissions, and having
considered all of the Burk factors, the Court finds
that Halliburton's requested award of attorneys' fees
is reasonable. Specifically, the Court finds that the hours
expended by Halliburton's counsel are reasonable and
necessary. The Court finds that the total hours expended by
Halliburton's counsel are commensurate with the
complexity of the case and the issues involved. The Court
would also note that in this case, nine depositions were
taken, multiple experts were involved, multiple attempts at
settlement were tried, and several matters involved briefing.
Further, the Court finds that the requested hourly rates for
Halliburton's counsel are reasonable. Specifically, the
Court finds that the fees sought are consistent with the
rates charged by attorneys with similar qualifications and
for similar work in Oklahoma City.
the Court GRANTS Halliburton's Motion for Attorneys'
Fees [docket no. 140] and AWARDS Halliburton its
attorneys' fees against plaintiff Singer Oil Company, LLC
in the amount of $76, 899.50.