United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
GAEDEKE HOLDINGS VII LTD and GAEDEKE OIL & GAS OPERATING, LLC, Plaintiffs,
TODD BAKER; BAKER PETROLEUM AND INVESTMENTS, INC.; and LANDON SPEED, Defendants. Case Damages Fee Awarded Ratio
ORDER RE: ATTORNEYS' FEES
STEPHEN P. FRIOT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
November 1, 2019, the court heard evidence and argument on
the issues of attorneys' fees and taxable costs. The
court had previously determined that plaintiff, as the
prevailing party, is entitled to recover reasonable
attorneys' fees. By this order, the court determines the
amount of the attorneys' fees to be awarded to the
The remaining issues as to taxation of costs will be
addressed in a separate order.
court provided a fair amount of guidance as to its approach
to the fee issues in its August 13, 2019 order. Doc. no. 896.
The court provided further guidance in its preliminary
comments at the November 1 hearing, particularly on the
question of the extent to which estimation is permissible in
evaluating the various components of a fee award. Those
comments-made for the benefit of the parties and a reviewing
court-will not be repeated here, but they remain relevant to
the court's determinations.
Approach to setting the fee to be awarded.
setting a fee to be recovered pursuant to statutory
entitlement in a diversity case governed by Oklahoma law, the
beginning point is the determination of the lodestar fee. The
lodestar fee is the dollar amount resulting from
multiplication of the hours reasonably devoted to the case by
a reasonable hourly rate. Then, depending on case-specific
factors, such as whether a fee enhancement is appropriate as
a result of the application of the Burk factors,
whether there were some non-fee bearing claims in the mix,
and whether work was performed relating to parties other than
the party targeted by the fee application, the court must
consider whether and to what extent the lodestar fee should
be adjusted to arrive at a final fee award. The court
concludes that the facts of this case require that the
analytical process proceed as follows:
Determine the lodestar fee. The determination of the
hours reasonably spent requires scrutiny of the services
rendered by three law firms and dozens of lawyers and
paralegals. An adjustment will be required for duplication of
effort. The determination of the reasonable hourly rates is
somewhat less complicated.
Determine whether a Burk enhancement is appropriate.
It is not.
Apportion to eliminate services relating exclusively to
other defendants. On this issue, some estimation will
inevitably be required. Uncertainties resulting from block
billing or otherwise uninformative timekeeping practices will
be resolved against the plaintiff, as the party with the
burden of proof on fee issues.
Apportion to eliminate services relating to non-fee
bearing claims. Again, some estimation will be required.
And, again, uncertainties will be resolved against
Adjust to arrive at a final fee award which bears some
reasonable relationship to the amount in controversy and the
amount of the recovery. This is the wild card (in the
sense that it is more subjective than any other factor), and
potentially the largest adjustment.
Application of the controlling principles.
careful consideration of the controlling principles, as
discussed in this order, in the August 13 order and at the
hearing, the court concludes that plaintiff should be awarded
an attorneys' fee recovery in the amount of $106, 992,
determined as set forth in the following table and as further