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Court declines to award attorneys’ fees incurred on a motion for fees when the parties did not seek an out of court resolution on fees prior to bringing the motion for attorneys’ fees

New York

,

USA

Try to Work It Out Together Before Asking a Court to Award “Fees on Fees” In Commissions Import Export S.A. v. Republic of the Congo et al, No. 1:2019mc00195 – Document 93 (S.D.N.Y. 2021), the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York heard a motion for attorneys’ fees. In this case, the defendants had defaulted, and the court awarded default judgment in favor of the plaintiff.The Court later set aside the default judgment on the condition that the defendants pay “reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred as a result of the default” (at 2). The Court awarded approximately $31,500 in fees out of the approximately $51,500 requested by the plaintiffs.In addition to the approximately $51,500 in attorneys’ fees sought for the default judgment, the plaintiffs’ attorneys also sought approximately $4,500 in fees for the time spent preparing for the motion for fees (the subject matter of this decision).The Court noted that Second Circuit courts have not been uniform in their practice of allowing or disallowing “fees on fees” – that is, whether fees may be awarded for time spent preparing applications and motions for fees (at 15). The Court declined to award “fees on fees” in this case.Here, the Court had directed the parties to seek a resolution in connection with the payment of the plaintiff’s fees by the defendants, but the plaintiff had filed their application for fees without reaching out to the defendants for a resolution.The Court noted that “[h]ad Petitioner done so, the instant fee application could have been obviated entirely” (at 16).

April 14, 2022
Commissions Import Export S.A. v. Republic of the Congo et al, No. 1:2019mc00195 – Document 93 (S.D.N.Y. 2021)
New York Courts