Name of Assigned Judge Blanche M. Manning Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge
CSX Insurance Co. and CSX Intermodal, Inc.'s motion for fees, nontaxable costs, and interest [191-1] is granted in part and denied in part as detailed below. The court cannot calculate the fees and costs due, however, because of the remaining issues that shall be addressed in supplemental briefs. The court strongly urges the parties to confer in order to reach an agreed-upon award of fees, costs, and interest. In the event that the parties fail to reach such an agreement, supplemental briefing shall proceed as follows: Pacific Rail's supplemental response brief shall be filed by May 31, 2011; CSX's supplemental reply brief shall be filed by June 14, 2011. The court shall rule by mail unless the parties are otherwise notified.
O [ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.
After a bench trial, the court entered judgment in favor of CSX Insurance Co. and CSX Intermodal, Inc. (collectively "CSX") on Count I of their Amended Complaint (the court also entered judgment on many other claims brought by the parties, but those claims are not relevant here). Before the court is CSX's motion for attorneys' fees, related nontaxable costs, and prejudgment interest. Pacific Rail objects to the amount CSX seeks for two reasons: (1) CSX is seeking fees for work unrelated to the sole count on which it prevailed, and (2) the number of hours billed and rates charged are excessive.
The court begins by identifying the source of CSX's entitlement to fees, nontaxable costs, and interest. Successful parties are responsible for their own fees unless a statute or contract provides otherwise. See Rexam Beverage Can Co. v. Bolger, 620 F.3d 718, 734 (7th Cir. 2010). CSX seeks fees, nontaxable costs, and interest under § 14.2 of the parties' Lift Services Agreement, which reads as follows:
With any Event of Default by [Pacific Rail, Pacific Rail] shall be liable to CSXI for
(a) all expenses (including, but not limited to, legal costs and expenses and attorneys', expert witness, and paralegal fees, including, but not limited to, fees and costs incurred for appellate or bankruptcy proceedings)
(i) incurred by CSXI in curing or seeking to cure such default or in exercising or seeking to exercise any of CSXI's rights and remedies with respect to such default, or
(ii) otherwise arising out of such default, plus
(b) interest on all such expenses, at the rate of eighteen percent (18%) per annum, all of which expenses and interest will be due and payable by [Pacific Rail] to CSXI upon written demand.
Lift Services Agreement ¶ 14.2 (attached as Exhibit A to the Amended Complaint [16-1]). An Event of Default is defined in ...