United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT
GUIROLA, JR. CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT is the  Amended Motion for Default Judgment
filed by the plaintiff, Bankers Insurance Company against the
defendants, Ace Construction Company, Inc., Kevin F. Davis
and Daphne D. Davis. Bankers Insurance asserts that it is
entitled to damages due to the breach of a General Indemnity
Agreement executed by each of the defendants. (Am. Mot. Ex.
2, ECF No. 18-2). The Court has subject matter jurisdiction
over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Compl. 2,
ECF No. 1). Summons were issued on December 21, 2015, and
each defendant was served either December 29 or 30, 2015. No
defendant has answered or otherwise responded to the
Complaint. The Clerk's Entry of Default occurred on
January 28, 2016.
Judge Walker conducted telephonic conferences with the
plaintiff's attorneys on July 1, 2016 and September 21,
2016. The conferences concerned the plaintiff's
negotiation efforts with the defendants. Plaintiff informed
the Magistrate Judge at the September conference that
negotiations were complete; its damages were liquidated and
it would shortly file a motion for default judgment.
(See Minute Entry Order Sept. 21, 2016). After
obtaining a number of extensions of time from the Magistrate
Judge, Plaintiff filed this Motion to obtain a judgment for
the liquidated amount.
court's award of damages must be determined after a
hearing, unless the amount claimed can be demonstrated by
detailed affidavits establishing the necessary facts. See
James v. Frame, 6 F.3d 307, 310 (5th Cir. 1993). In this
case, detailed affidavits clearly establish that Bankers
Insurance is entitled to recover $100, 007.30 in bond claims,
plus other handling fees, costs and expenses of $10, 994.80.
(Daniel Berge Aff., ECF No. 18-2; Jefferson B. Slagle Aff.,
ECF No. 18-5). The request for $77, 777.50 in attorney's
fees requires closer attention than the other categories.
terms of the General Indemnity Agreement, Bankers Insurance
is entitled to an award of its attorney's fees and
expenses. (Am. Mot. Ex. 2 at 2 (¶3.13), ECF No. 18-2).
In the Fifth Circuit, a two-step process is employed to
determine the amount of attorney's fees to be awarded.
Jimenez v. Wood Cty.., 621 F.3d 372, 379 (5th Cir.
2010) (citing Rutherford v. Harris Cty., 197 F.3d
173, 192 (5th Cir. 1999)). The first step is the lodestar
calculation, “which is equal to the number of hours
reasonably expended multiplied by the prevailing hourly rate
in the community for similar work.” Id. The
fee applicant bears the burden of proof on this issue.
La. Power & Light Co. v. Kellstrom, 50 F.3d 319,
324 (5th Cir. 1995). In the second step, a court must
consider whether the lodestar figure should be adjusted
upward or downward depending on its analysis of the twelve
factors established in Johnson v. Georgia Highway
Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-19 (5th Cir. 1974),
abrogated on other grounds by Blanchard v. Bergeron,
489 U.S. 87, 91-92 (1989). “Many of these factors usually
are subsumed within the initial calculation of hours
reasonably expended at a reasonable hourly rate and should
not be double-counted.” Jason D.W. ex rel. Dougals
W. v. Houston Indep. Sch. Dist., 158 F.3d 205, 209 (5th
Cir. 1998) (internal citations omitted).
Insurance has provided detailed billing records
substantiating its request for $77, 777.50 in contractual
attorney's fees. (See Ex. 1 to Jefferson B.
Slagle Aff., ECF No. 18-5). Four attorneys spent a total of
341 hours representing Bankers Insurance in this construction
dispute and recovery effort. Forty-two and one tenth hours
were charged at the partner rate of $250 per hour - a total
of $10, 525. Two hundred ninety eight and nine tenths hours
were charged at the associate rate of $225 per hour - a total
of $67, 252.50. The Court finds the time expended to be
reasonable, and the hourly charges to be standard, reasonable
rates for attorneys doing similar work in the Southern
District of Mississippi. The Court further finds that none of
the Johnson factors requires an adjustment to the
lodestar value of $77, 777.50.
reviewing the evidence and the record, the Court finds that
the plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment is well-taken
and should be granted. Bankers Insurance Company is entitled
to a default judgment pursuant to Rule 55(b)(2) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure against Defendants Ace
Construction Company, Inc., Kevin F. Davis and Daphne D.
Davis, in the amount of $188, 779.60, plus costs and
THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the  Amended Motion
for Default Judgment filed by the plaintiff, Bankers
Insurance Company is GRANTED. Bankers Insurance Company shall
recover from defendants Ace Construction Company, Inc., Kevin
F. Davis and Daphne D. Davis, jointly and severally, the
amount of $188, 779.60; costs; and post-judgment interest at
the currently prescribed federal rate from the date of
judgment until paid in full.
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED.
 The factors are: (1) the time and
labor required; (2) the novelty and difficulty of the issues;
(3) the requisite skill to perform the legal services
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 ...