Judge awards attorneys' fees to Delta Air Lines after lawsuit

By Charmaine Little | Jun 1, 2019

NEW ORLEANS – On May 8, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana awarded Delta Air Lines $1,260 in attorneys’ fees after facing a lawsuit.

While a previous judge granted Delta’s motion to compel and awarded sanctions, Delta went on to request attorney’s fees after being sued by Johannes Markus Sieber. Delta requested $1,260 for attorney’s fees that was calculated at $140 an hour for nine hours.

“I find that defense attorneys [Daniel] Martiny and James Mullaly performed work related to the motion to compel for 26.9 ours, for which they billed the remarkably modest rate of only $140 per hour,” said U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Wilkinson Jr. as he ruled on the current case.

Martiny added that he spent nine hours “researching, drafting, filing and preparing for argument on the motion to compel,” according to the court. Those nine hours do not include the time they spent creating a motion to file leave for a reply, which the court denied.


U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Wilkinson Jr.   http://nofba.org

“I find Martiny’s attestation accurate in light of the billing entries for March 11 and 31, 2019, which reflect at least nine hours of work on the specific tasks Martiny cites in support of his time calculation,” Wilkinson said.

He added that there was not anything to indicate that the attorneys packed on extra hours that were not related to the case. Plus, the $140 per hour is below the norm when considering how much experience Martiny and his counsel Mullaly brought to the case.

The court used the lodestar method and multiplied the number of hours by the hourly rate to get to the $1,260. Because this method was favorable, it did not need to take into account more factors under the Fifth Circuit’s Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, Inc. in 1974 that considers additional aspects like the award in similar cases and the difficulty and novelty of the issues in the case.

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