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Agio International Co., Ltd. Zhejiang Longda Force Co., Ltd.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

June 20, 2019

AGIO INTERNATIONAL COMPANY, LTD., Plaintiff,
v.
ZHEJIANG LONGDA FORCE CO., LTD. and JMH TRADING INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT, LLC, d/b/a WORLD SOURCE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

          Martin Reidinger United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs [Doc. 56].

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On September 1, 2015, the Plaintiff Agio International Company, Ltd. (“Agio”) filed its original complaint against the Defendant JMH Trading International Management LLC d/b/a World Source (“JMH”), [1] asserting a claim of infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6, 585, 323 (“the ‘323 Patent”). [Doc. 1]. On December 29, 2015, Agio filed an Amended Complaint, adding Zhejiang Longda Force Co. Ltd. (“Longda”), a Chinese company, as a defendant and amending its patent infringement claim to include U.S. Patent 6, 293, 624 (“the ‘624 Patent”). [Doc. 5].

         Longda refused to waive service of process under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(d). Accordingly, Agio initiated formal service of process of the Summons and the Amended Complaint pursuant to the Hague Convention, to which the People's Republic of China is a signatory. [See Doc. 26-1]. Despite Agio's extensive and repeated efforts to effectuate service, Longda failed to file a responsive pleading or otherwise participate in the above-captioned action.

         On February 15, 2017, Agio moved for the entry of default against Longda for failure to answer or otherwise plead in response to Agio's Amended Complaint. [Doc. 26]. On February 16, 2017, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a), the Clerk entered default against Longda. [Doc. 27].

         On March 1, 2019, Agio filed its Motion for Default Judgment against Longda, requesting relief that included reasonable attorneys' fees and costs. [Doc. 49]. On March 21, 2019, the Court granted Agio's motion and entered a default judgment against Longda. [Doc. 53]. In pertinent part, the Court granted Agio an award of attorneys' fees and costs and directed Agio to “submit evidence supporting a discrete amount in reasonable fees and fixed costs.” [Id. at 19]. Agio filed its present motion on April 4, 2019, seeking an award of attorneys' fees in the amount of $108, 114.00 and an award of costs in the amount of $1, 944.01. [Doc. 56].

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Attorneys' Fees

         In calculating an award of attorneys' fees, the Court typically applies the lodestar method, “which provides a presumptively reasonable fee amount, by multiplying a reasonable hourly rate by the reasonable No. of hours required to litigate a comparable case.” Lumen View Tech. LLC v. Findthebest.com, Inc., 811 F.3d 479, 483 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (citing Perdue v. Kenny A. ex rel. Winn, 559 U.S. 542, 551 (2010)) (internal citation omitted). The burden is on the fee applicant to justify the reasonableness of the requested fee. Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 886, 895 n.11 (1984).

         In exercising its discretion in the application of this lodestar method, the Court is guided by the following factors, known within the Fourth Circuit as the “Johnson factors”:

(1) the time and labor expended; (2) the novelty and difficulty of the questions raised; (3) the skill required to properly perform the legal services rendered; (4) the attorney's opportunity costs in pressing the instant litigation; (5) the customary fee for like work; (6) the attorney's expectations at the outset of the litigation; (7) the time limitations imposed by the client or circumstances; (8) the amount in controversy and the results obtained; (9) the experience, reputation and ability of the attorney; (10) the undesirability of the case within the legal community in which the suit arose; (11) the nature and length of the professional relationship between attorney and client; and (12) attorneys' fees awards in similar cases.

Grissom v. The Mills Corp., 549 F.3d 313, 321 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Spell v. McDaniel, 824 F.2d 1380, 1402 n.18 (4th Cir. 1987)) (applying 12-factor test set forth in Johnson v. Georgia Hwy. Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-19 (5th Cir. 1974)). “Although the Court considers all of the factors, they need not be strictly applied in every case inasmuch as all of the factors are not always applicable.” Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc. v. Scurmont, LLC, No. 4:09-cv-00618-RBH, 2011 WL 4943889, at *12 (D.S.C. Oct. 17, 2011) ...


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