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Primerica Life Insurance Co. v. Frantz

United States District Court, D. Kansas

October 15, 2019




         This matter comes before the court on interpleader-plaintiff Primerica Life Insurance Company's motion for attorney's fees. (Doc. 22.) In its order dated March 6, 2019, the court previously determined that plaintiff is entitled to recover reasonable costs and fees from the interpleaded fund, provided that plaintiff submit a particularized request showing compliance with the procedures outlined in Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 54 and D. Kan. 54.2. (Doc. 17, at 8.) Having concluded that plaintiff has followed those procedures and presented a reasonable request, the court grants plaintiff's motion for attorney's fees and costs.

         I. Factual Background

         Plaintiff filed this interpleader action to facilitate the proper distribution of a $150, 000 life insurance policy benefit to either Barbara or Patrick Frantz. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion to deposit the policy amount into the court's registry. (Doc. 13.) In this motion, plaintiff also requested: dismissal from the action, a permanent injunction against defendants preventing them from pursuing any further action on the policy against it, and reimbursement for its reasonable attorney's fees and costs for bringing this interpleader action. (Id.) The court granted plaintiff's motion to deposit the funds. (Doc. 17.) With respect to plaintiff's other requests, the court concluded that plaintiff was entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and costs but reserved ordering any such award until plaintiff properly filed a motion under Fed. R. Civ. P 54 and D. Kan. Rule 54.2. (Id. at 8.) The court also noted that upon proof of deposit of the $150, 000 and resolution of its request for attorney's fees, the court would dismiss plaintiff and issue an injunction preventing defendants from taking further action against plaintiff on the policy. (Id.)

         Plaintiff properly deposited the policy amount in the court's registry on May 23, 2019. (Doc. 18). The court then allowed plaintiff until July 18, 2019, to move for its reasonable attorney's fees and costs (Doc. 21.) Plaintiff met that deadline with the instant motion, which it supports by offering (1) email correspondence between its counsel and defendant Patrick Frantz's counsel concerning the dispute over attorney's fees and (2) an affidavit from plaintiff's counsel detailing legal fees. (Doc. 22-1.) The emails took place from January 25, 2019 to February 6, 2019, and the parties were unable to agree about plaintiff's entitlement to attorney's fees and costs. (Id.) Plaintiff's counsel submits that plaintiff incurred $4, 104.50 in attorney's fees for 26.40 hours of work, in addition to $760.26 in costs, for a total of $4, 864.76 in attorney's fees and costs. (Id.)

         II. Legal Standard

         Both the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules for the District of Kansas set out requirements for a party's motion for attorney's fees. Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d), the motion must:

(i) be filed no later than 14 days after the entry of judgment;
(ii) specify the judgment and the statute, rule, or other grounds entitling the movant to the award;
(iii) state the amount sought or provide a fair estimate of it; and
(iv) disclose, if the court so orders, the terms of any agreement about fees for the services for which the claim is made

Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2)(B). A statute or court order can vary these requirements if provided therein. Id.

         The Local Rules impose additional requirements for motions for attorney's fees, most of which relate to consultation with the other party. Consultation with the other party is required before the court will consider a motion for attorney's fees. D. Kan. Rule 54.2(a). When the parties disagree about the award of attorney's fees after such consultation, the moving party must file, within 30 days of filing its motion, both a statement of consultation and a memorandum setting forth the factual basis for an award. D. Kan. Rule 54.2(c). The statement of consultation must note the date of the consultation, the names of the participants, and the results. D. Kan. Rule 54.2(d). The memorandum in support of the party's motion for attorney's fees “must be supported by time records, affidavits, or other evidence.” D. Kan. Rule 54.2(e).

         III. ...

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