United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. JOHNSTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood,
LLC's (“Constellium”) Motion for
Attorneys' Fees and Costs. (ECF No. 142.) The motion is
unopposed. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is
September 24, 2015, Constellium filed a Complaint against
Defendant Kenneth Rogers, its former human resources
executive. Rogers, in turn, brought suit alleging race
discrimination, hostile work environment, and other claims
related to the termination of his employment. The actions
were consolidated on June 9, 2016. By the time the
consolidated case was ready for trial, one claim remained on
each side: Rogers' race discrimination claim and
Constellium's fraud claim. The matter was tried to a jury
between May 9 and May 12, 2017. On May 12, 2017, the jury
returned a verdict in Constellium's favor. The jury found
“by clear and convincing evidence that Kenneth Rogers
perpetrated a fraud against [Constellium].” (Verdict
Form, ECF No. 129.) As to Rogers' race discrimination
claim, the jury found Constellium not liable.
entry of judgment on May 15, 2017, Constellium filed the
pending Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs. Rogers'
counsel moved to withdraw from the case shortly thereafter.
That motion was granted on June 16, 2016 and Rogers now
proceeds pro se for purposes of all post-judgment matters. On
August 8, 2017, the Court entered an Order directing Rogers
to respond to the Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs by
August 28, 2017. To date, Rogers has not responded.
fees are ordinarily not a recoverable cost of litigation in
the American legal system. See Koontz v. Wells Fargo
N.A., No. 2:10-cv-00864, 2013 WL 1337260, at *3 (S.D.
W.Va. Mar. 29, 2013). However, the Supreme Court of Appeals
of West Virginia has held that “[w]here it can be shown
by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant has engaged
in fraudulent conduct which has injured a plaintiff, recovery
of reasonable attorney's fees may be obtained in addition
to the damages sustained as a result of the fraudulent
conduct.” Syl. Pt. 4, Bowling v. Ansted
Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge, Inc., 425 S.E.2d 144 ( W.Va.
a reasonable attorney's fee award involves two steps.
First, the district court determines a “lodestar”
figure by multiplying the hours an attorney spent on the case
by a reasonable hourly rate of compensation. Koontz,
2013 WL 1337260, at *6 (citing Lindy Bros. Builders, Inc.
v. Am. Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corp., 487 F.2d
161, 167 (3d Cir. 1973)). Second, the court may adjust the
lodestar amount after consideration of the following factors:
(1) The time and labor expended; (2) the novelty and
difficulty of the questions raised; (3) the skill required to
properly perform the legal services rendered; (4) the
attorney's opportunity costs in pressing the instant
litigation; (5) the customary fee for like work; (6) the
attorney's expectations at the outset of the litigation;
(7) the time limitations imposed by the client or
circumstances; (8) the amount in controversy and the results
obtained; (9) the experience, reputation, and ability of the
attorney[s]; (10) the undesirability of the case within the
legal community in which the suit arose; (11) the nature and
length of the professional relationship between attorney and
client; and (12) attorneys' fees awards in similar cases.
McAfee v. Boczar, 738 F.3d 81, 88 n. 5 (4th Cir.
2013) (citing Barber v. Kimbrell's Inc., 577
F.2d 216, 226 n. 28 (4th Cir. 1978)).
support of its Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs,
Constellium has submitted the affidavit of its lead trial
counsel, Christopher L. Slaughter, along with detailed
invoices for professional legal services performed between
September 1, 2015 and May 31, 2017.
Court begins by determining reasonable hourly rates. The
affidavit explains that Constellium is a regular client of
Mr. Slaughter's law firm, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
(“Steptoe”). Steptoe is a large and respected law
firm in the Charleston, West Virginia area. The legal
services performed in relation to the fraud claim were billed
at the regular rates assigned to Constellium, which are
discounted from the firm's standard rates. As revealed by
the invoices, the hourly rates ranged from $110.50 to $148.50
for paralegals, $187 to $198 for associates, $259.25 to
$274.50 for of-counsel attorneys, and $170 to $314.50 for
partners. All told, five paralegals, one associate,
one of-counsel attorney, and four partners contributed their
labor to the prosecution of the fraud claim. The bulk of the
hours billed were submitted by two seasoned partners, Mr.
and Norrie C. Currens. Mr. Slaughter and Ms. Currens led the
legal team from the outset and were responsible for trying
the case to a favorable verdict. These attorneys typically
billed $280.50 and $267.75 per hour for their services,
respectively. The combined attorneys' fees and costs