United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
PATRICK R. WYRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
September 3, 2019, the Court entered an Order (Dkt. 18)
remanding this case to state court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447 (2012). The Order (Dkt. 18) further granted the
Plaintiffs’ request for costs and expenses pursuant to
§ 1447(c) and directed the Plaintiffs to submit a motion
by no later than September 17th outlining the amount of costs
and attorney fees sought. On September 17th, the Plaintiffs
filed an Unopposed Motion for Attorney Fees (Dkt. 20)
submitting that they incurred attorneys’ fees in the
amount $8, 972.50, as detailed in an attached exhibit;
asserting that such amount was reasonable under the standards
set forth in State ex rel. Burk v. City of Oklahoma
City, 1979 OK 115, 598 P.2d 659; stating that only
remaining Defendant, State Farm Fire & Casualty Company
(hereinafter, “State Farm”), stipulated and
agreed to an award of attorney fees in the amount of $8,
972.50; and submitted a proposed Agreed Order granting their
1447(c) permits the Court to “require payment of just
costs and any actual expenses, including attorney
fees, incurred as a result of the
removal.” Despite the statutory language allowing an
award of “actual” attorney fees, the Tenth
Circuit has held it is error to “grant a fee petition
in full, without conducting an independent inquiry into the
reasonableness of the fees demanded.” That is because
the Tenth Circuit has read into the word
“incurred” a common-sense requirement that the
fees be reasonably related to the work of resisting removal
and not related to inflated billing rates:
“Unreasonably high fees are not ‘incurred’
as a result of removal; rather, excessive fee requests flow
from, and accumulate by means of, improper billing practices,
and will not be recoverable under §
1447(c).” District courts “are duty bound to
ensure that an award of attorneys’ fees pursuant to
§ 1447(c) is reasonable.” Despite imposing a
requirement of reasonableness, the Tenth Circuit did not
expound upon the factors that district courts should consider
when weighing reasonableness. From its discussion of the
Seventh Circuit case of Wisconsin v. Hotline Industries,
Inc., 236 F.3d 363 (7th Cir. 2000), and its endorsement
of that case’s “common-sense approach,
” however, it is apparent that a district
court should not base its award of attorneys’ fees on
“the prevailing rate in the area . . . for lawyers
specializing in similar work, ” as a district
court’s use of that market rate approach served as the
basis for the Seventh Circuit’s reversal and remand
that directed “the district court to determine the
actual outlays incurred by the [plaintiff] as a result of
[the defendant]’s improper removal.
review of the Plaintiffs’ “Fee Detail”
Exhibit (Dkt. 20-1)-which includes descriptions of the work
performed, the amount of time each task took to perform, and
the hourly billing rates charged-the Court concludes that the
actual amount of attorneys’ fees incurred as a result
of each task undertaken by Plaintiffs’ counsel in
relation to State Farm’s improper removal is
reasonable. Moreover, State Farm stipulates to the amount,
which demonstrates its reasonableness.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Plaintiffs’
Unopposed Motion for Attorney Fees (Dkt. 20) is hereby
GRANTED. Accordingly, the Court awards $8,
972.50 to Plaintiffs for attorneys’ fees incurred in
this matter. Defendant State Farm Fire & Casualty Company
shall pay $8, 972.50 to counsel for Plaintiffs within twenty
(20) days of this Order.
 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (2012)
 Huffman v. Saul Holdings Ltd.
P’ship., 262 F.3d 1128, 1134 (10th Cir.
 Id. at 1135.
 Id. at 1134 (citing Braco
v. MCI Wordlcom Commc’ns, Inc., 138 F.Supp.2d
1260, 1271 (C.D. Cal. 2001); Mehney-Egan v. Mendoza,
130 F.Supp.2d 884, 885 (E.D. Mich. 2001); Park
Nat’l Bank of Houston v. Kaminetzky, 976 F.Supp.
571, 584 (S.D. Tex. 1996); Summit Mach. Tool Mfg. Corp.
v. Great N. Ins. Co., 883 F.Supp. 1532, 1533 (S.D. Tex.
 Id. at 1134–35.
See Id . (citing Hotline
Indus. Inc., 236 F.3d at ...