The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES HOLDERMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On July 9, 2004, this court granted defendants Monsanto Company
("Monsanto"), Pharmacia Corporation ("Pharmacia"), and CP Kelco
U.S., Inc ("Kelco"), motions for summary judgment dismissing
plaintiff Jon Magin's ("Magin"), claims. (Dkt. Nos. 108, 109.)
Magin had previously alleged that the defendants violated the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, ("ERISA"),
29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., by not paying him certain claimed
severance benefits. On August 19, 2004, Monsanto and Pharmacia
filed a motion for an award of attorneys' fees and costs under
ERISA's fee shifting provision and an assessment of sanctions
against Magin and his counsel pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure ("Rules"), and 28 U.S.C. § 1927. For the
reasons set forth below, this court grants Monsanto and
Pharmacia's motion in part and denies it in part.
Magin has experienced several set backs during his tenure
before this court. On May 8, 2003, this court dismissed his case
for failure to comply with the court's order of April 22, 2003.
(Dkt. Nos. 21, 22.) Magin failed to meet the court's deadline of April
29, 2003 for filing and serving his amended complaint. Magin had
filed for leave to file an amended complaint on April 17, 2003 in
response to the defendants motions to dismiss his original
complaint. (Dkt. Nos. 19, 20.)
This court eventually allowed Magin to file his amended class
action complaint on May 23, 2003, but his amended class complaint
was dismissed on August 4, 2003 pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. (Dkt.
Nos. 25, 45.) In light of the dismissal, this court, in an August
26, 2003 minute order, granted Magin leave to file a second
amended complaint which he filed on September 3, 2003. (Dkt. Nos.
46, 47.) Monsanto and Pharmacia moved to dismiss the second
amended complaint and this court, in its minute order of
September 23, 2003, set a briefing schedule for that motion which
required Magin to file his response by September 30, 2003. (Dkt.
No. 56.) Magin failed to meet his September 30, 2003 deadline for
filing his response with this court and instead this court, in
its minute order of October 2, 2003, granted Magin's untimely
motion to extend the filing of his response to October 9, 2003.
(Dkt. No. 59.) This court, in its November 14, 2003 minute order,
granted in part and denied in part Monsanto and Pharmacia's
motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 64.) The court held that the second
amended complaint did state a claim under ERISA, but Magin's
state law claims were preempted under ERISA. (Id.) This was the
second time that this court had dismissed Magin's state law
claims as preempted under ERISA. The court, in its August 4, 2003
minute order, had previously dismissed Magin's state law claims
when they were presented in the first amended complaint. (Dkt.
On November 25, 2003, Monsanto and Pharmacia filed their answer
to the second amended complaint along with affirmative defenses
and a cross claim. (Dkt. No. 66.) Magin responded with motion to
strike the affirmative defenses. (Dkt. No. 72.) This court, in
its January 20, 2004 minute order denying Magin's motion to strike, noted that Magin failed
to provide any basis for striking the affirmative defenses. (Dkt.
On February 3, 3004, during the pretrial discovery period,
Monsanto and Pharmacia brought a motion to deny class
certification, (Dkt. No. 81.), and Magin was given until February
19, 2004 to file a motion for class certification, (Dkt. No.
82.), but did not file his motion until February 20, 2004. (Dkt.
No. 83.) This court, in its April 8, 2004 minute order, denied
Magin's motion for class certification and granted the
defendants' motion to deny class certification. (Dkt. No. 92.) In
the April 8, 2004 minute order, this court noted that Magin had
not moved for class certification until after fact discovery had
closed. (Id.) In fact, Magin had waited until the defendants
had brought their motion against class certification before
bringing his motion for class certification. This led the court
to question whether "had defendants not moved to deny
certification, would plaintiff have ever moved to certify?"
(Id.) Furthermore, the extent of Magin's argument for class
certification was a "four-page conclusory motion with little
factual or legal support." (Id.)
On April 2, 2004, when this court was considering the motion
for class certification, Magin brought a motion for leave to add
additional parties plaintiff. (Dkt. No. 90.) This court, in its
April 20, 2004 minute order denying Magin's motion for leave to
add additional parties plaintiff, noted that the motion had been
filed over two months after discovery in the case had been closed
and less than one month before motions for summary judgment were
due. (Dkt. No. 96.)
This court then dismissed Magin's remaining claims on July 9,
2004 when it granted the defendants motions for summary judgment
on the remaining counts. (Dkt. Nos. 108, 109.) As the court
explained, "The bottom line is that Magin has failed to identify
with the requisite particularity the evidence that supports his
claims. The entirety of Magin's `Argument' section of his memorandum in response runs less than three pages and contains no
citations to the record. Magin has not affirmatively
demonstrated, by specific factual allegations, as opposed to
reliance on his pleadings and conclusory assertions, that there
is a genuine issue of material fact that requires a trial." (Dkt.
A. Attorneys Fees and Costs Under ERISA,
29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1)
Monsanto and Pharmacia, as the prevailing party, request an
award of $271,548.47 for attorneys' fees and costs under ERISA's
fee shifting provision. 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1). Magin argues
against any award and he questions whether the $271,548.47 figure
is a proper amount.
1. The Parties Must Comply With Local Rule 54.3
As a preliminary matter, the court notes that the parties have
failed to comply with the requirements of Local Rule 54.3. In
particular, the parties have failed to confer and meet in good
faith to agree on a potential amount as required under Local Rule
54.3(d) or provide to the court a Joint Statement of disputed
items as required under Local Rule 54.3(e). The procedures set
forth in the Local Rules cultivate the groundwork of financial
information that this court must ultimately review when arriving
at a determination of whether the requested dollar amount is
proper. The court does note that Monsanto and Pharmacia attached
a letter dated August 3, 2004 sent to opposing counsel and a one
half inch thick stack of legal invoices. However, these
submissions are not ...