United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DUFFEY JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge John K.
Larkins III's Final Report and Recommendation 
(“Final R&R”). The Final R&R recommends
that the Court grant in part and deny in part Plaintiff Sheri
Johnson's Petition for Fees and Costs  and that
judgment be entered in favor of Plaintiff and against
Defendants pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 68.
a consumer protection case arising under the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1692, et seq. Johnson filed this
lawsuit on March 31, 2017, alleging that Defendants violated
the FDCPA by attempting to collect on a consumer debt that
Johnson and Velocity had settled () and amended her
complaint to allege violation of the Georgia Fair Business
Practices Act (“GFBPA”) and to add a state law
claim for breach of the settlement agreement and for specific
performance (). On November 20, 2017, Johnson accepted an
offer of judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
68, pursuant to which (1) Johnson would take a judgment
against Defendants in the amount of $3, 001 and (2) the
judgment would include all reasonable attorney fees and costs
associated with prosecution of this lawsuit, provided that if
they could not agree on the amount of fees and costs, the
Court would determine the amount. (, [43.1]).
November 20, 2017, Johnson also filed the instant motion for
attorney fees and costs, seeking a total of $570.65 in actual
costs and $30, 582.50 in attorney fees. (). Defendants
object to the reasonablness of the time Plaintiff's
counsel spent prosecuting this case and argue that Plaintiff
was only partially successful on her claims.
February 26, 2018, the Magistrate Judge heard oral argument
on Plaintiff's motion. On March 12, 2018, the Magistrate
Judge issued his Final R&R . The Magistrate Judge
recommended that judgment be entered in favor of Plaintiff
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 68 in the amount of $19, 756.65,
representing damages of $3, 001.00, a reduced fee award of
$16, 185.00 (49.8 hours worked at a billable rate of
$325.00), and costs of $570.65. Neither party filed
objections to the Final R&R. ( at 18-19).
Review of a Magistrate Judge's Report and
conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and
recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject, or
modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Williams v. Wainwright, 681
F.2d 732 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S.
1112 (1983). Where, as here, no party objects to the R&R,
the Court conducts a plain error review of the record.
See United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th
FDCPA authorizes the Court to award reasonable attorney fees
and costs to a plaintiff who brings a “successful
action” to enforce her rights under the FDCPA. 15
U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3). The Eleventh Circuit has held that
in determining the amount of fees to be awarded, the Court
should multiply the number of hours reasonably expended by a
reasonable hourly rate to calculate the
“lodestar.” Loranger v. Stierheim, 10
F.3d 776, 781 (11th Cir. 1984); see also Stewart v.
Regent Asset Mgmt. Sols., No. 1:10-CV-2552-CC-JFK, 2011
WL 1766018, at *8 (N.D.Ga. May 4, 2011) (applying lodestar
approach to determine award of fees under FDCPA). The party
seeking attorney fees may establish a reasonable hourly rate
by presenting evidence of the prevailing market rate in the
community for similar legal services by comparable lawyers.
Stewart, 2011 WL 1766018, at *8. The amount of time
that is compensable is the number of hours reasonably
expended on the action.
thoroughly reviewing the parties' briefs, the record in
the case, and considering the argument of counsel during the
February 2018 hearing, the Magistrate Judge concluded that
Plaintiff's counsel's claim for 109.1 hours should be
reduced to 49.8 hours, which equals a reduction in the
requested fee from $35, 457.50 to $16, 185.00. The Magistrate
Judge meticulously considered the time claimed, explained how
time claimed for certain tasks was excessive, and recommended
a reduction for those tasks. The Court finds no plain error
in these findings or recommendation. See Slay, 714
F.2d at 1095.