Judge Awards Plaintiff’s Counsel $206k in FCRA Case

A District Court judge has partially lowered the attorney’s fees in a Fair Credit Reporting Act case, but only by 10%, which kept the total award to more than $206,000, $70,000 more than what the defendant sought to pay.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Ramones v. AR Resources can be accessed by clicking here.

Last month, the judge in case lowered the punitive damages to be awarded to the plaintiff to $475,000, from the $700,000 that a jury determined was appropriate. The jury found the defendant guilty of violating the FCRA after it failed to correct information in the plaintiff’s credit report despite the plaintiff filing 31 separate disputes about the debts, which were actually owed by his father, who had a similar name.

The plaintiff’s counsel submitted documents saying they were entitles to $242,000 in fees, but reduced that by 10% to $217,572 to account for any duplicative or redundant hours. The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s counsel should be entitled to $131,149, based on duplicative work and because the hours billed were “excessive” for a “straight-forward” FCRA case.

Ultimately, Judge Patricia A. Seitz of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida disagreed with the defendant’s assessment of the “straight-forward” nature of the case, especially given the defendant’s “posture” throughout the litigation. Because of the “contentious nature” of the litigation and the fact that the defendant continued to assert various defenses after the plaintiff had been awarded summary judgment, Judge Seitz ruled that the number of hours worked by the plaintiff’s counsel “was reasonable and not surprising.”

The defendant has appealed the ruling to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

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