United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
Jeffrey T. Gilbert United States Magistrate Judge.
Maui Jim's Fee Petition  is allowed in part.
Defendants (collectively “SmartBuy”) shall pay
Maui Jim $9, 821.00 on or before June 6, 2018. See Statement
below for further details.
December 18, 2017, the Court granted in part and denied in
part SmartBuy's Motion to Clarify and for Entry of
Protective Order. [ECF No. 71.] SmartBuy then filed a
“Motion for Reconsideration of Supply-Chain
Confidentiality Designation in Light of New Facts and for
Expedited Discovery into Potential Contemptuous
Conduct” [ECF No. 113]. The Court denied SmartBuy's
Motion for Reconsideration on March 19, 2018, and ordered
SmartBuy to pay Maui Jim's attorneys' fees and costs
incurred in filing its Response to SmartBuy's Motion in
accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(5)(B).
[ECF No. 126.] Because the parties were unable to agree on
the amount of fees, in accordance with the Court's March
19, 2018 order [ECF No. 126], Maui Jim filed a Fee Petition
[ECF No. 128] seeking $18, 649.50 in legal fees it incurred
in filing its Response, as well as additional fees incurred
in filing the Fee Petition and the Reply in Support [ECF No.
SmartBuy says that the Court does not have the authority to
order it to pay Maui Jim's attorneys' fees for
opposing SmartBuy's Motion for Reconsideration of the
Court's prior rulings pursuant to Rule 37(a)(5)(B). The
Motion for Reconsideration [ECF No. 113] was a
discovery-related motion and therefore Rule 37(a)(5)(B)
applies. Among other things, in that Motion, SmartBuy seeks
“expedited discovery into potential
contemptuous conduct.” [ECF No. 113, at 1.] In
addition, in the body of the Motion, SmartBuy says
“this Court must stop all further
discovery into SmartBuyGlasses' supply chain
“ and it says “the Court should allow
SmartBuyGlasses to obtain fulsome discovery
on the background of what Maui Jim claims to be the events
and discussions leading up to its most recent decisions to
attack SmartBuyGlasses' [suppliers].” Id.
at pp. 4, 6. Therefore, although styled as a motion for
reconsideration, SmartBuy's motion clearly sought to
block certain discovery and permission to undertake other
discovery. SmartBuy's prayer for relief similarly was
focused on the discovery it wanted to take and the discovery
it wanted the Court to prevent. Id. at pp. 6-7. This
was clearly a discovery-related motion and the fact that it
was styled as a motion for reconsideration of the Court's
prior discovery rulings does not change the fact that it was
a discovery motion. Therefore, in the Court's view, Rule
the cases cited by SmartBuy for the proposition that its
Motion for Reconsideration is properly governed by Rule 54(b)
rather than Rule 37(a) are inapposite and readily
distinguishable. In Zurich Capital Markets, Inc. v.
Coglianese, 383 F.Supp.2d 1041 (N.D. Ill. 2005), the
defendants moved for reconsideration of the court's
ruling on the defendants' motion to dismiss that the
plaintiff's fraud allegations met the pleading
requirements of Rule 9(b). In Manley v. Boat/U.S.,
Inc., 2017 WL 5191952 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 9, 2017), the
court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant on
two counts, but denied summary judgment as to the three
remaining counts of the plaintiff's complaint. The
defendant then moved for reconsideration of the court's
denial of summary judgment on those three counts.
Id. Thus, unlike the instant case, Manley
and Zurich involved requests for reconsideration of
rulings on dispositive motions, completely unrelated to
the Court remains of the view that SmartBuy should have met
and conferred with Maui Jim under Local Rule 37.2 before
filing a discovery-related motion. But, even if Local Rule
37.2 does not technically apply, the failure to comply with
that Local Rule was not the sole predicate for the
Court's order that SmartBuy pay Maui Jim's fees. This
was a discovery motion that was not well-founded and it was
denied. And Rule 37(a)(5)(B) says the Court must award fees
unless “the motion substantially justified or other
circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.”
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(B).
SmartBuy argues that the attorneys' fees Maui Jim
incurred in responding to SmartBuy's motion were
excessive and that any award of fees against SmartBuy should
be substantially reduced from what Maui Jim is requesting.
The Court agrees with SmartBuy.
Jim's request for reimbursement of $18, 649 in
attorneys' fees for its response brief is, in the
Court's view, excessive for several reasons:
(1) The senior attorney on this file, billing at $655 an
hour, spent the lion's share of the time drafting Maui
Jim's response to SmartBuy's Motion;
(2) The billing records show substantial overlap between the
work being done by the senior and more junior lawyers for
“drafting, ” “preparing, ” and
“reviewing” the ...