United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge
before the court is the plaintiff's request for
attorneys' fees and costs after its motion for summary
judgment, (Doc. 25), was granted and judgment was
entered in plaintiff's favor with respect to Counts I and
II of its amended complaint, breach of contract claims
pertaining to defendants' failure to pay for leased
medical equipment, including an MRI machine. Since Toshiba
has not demonstrated its entitlement to all of its claimed
attorneys' fees and costs, and since the court has
conducted a calculation of the lodestar after determining
reasonable rates and hours, its request will be granted in
part and denied in part.
November 20, 2015, the court issued Order, (Doc.
36), based on the reasons set forth in an
accompanying Memorandum, (Doc. 35), which directed
1. Toshiba's motion for summary judgment, (Doc.
25), is GRANTED with respect to the breach of
contract claims, Counts I and II of the amended complaint,
2. Toshiba's motion for summary judgment is DENIED AS
MOOT with respect to the replevin claim, Count III.
3. Defendants' request for oral argument, (Doc.
34), is DENIED, as unnecessary.
4. Judgment is entered in favor of Toshiba and against all
defendants in the amount of $1, 289, 413.72.
5. The Clerk of Court is directed to CLOSE this case.
See 2015 WL 7351579 (M.D.Pa. Nov. 20, 2015).
December 18, 2015, defendants Valley Open MRI and Diagnostic
Center, Inc., Juan D. Gaia, M.D., and I & G Realty
Company (“defendants”) timely filed a notice of
appeal regarding the November 20, 2015 Memorandum and Order.
(Doc. 38). Defendants claimed that the granting of
summary judgment for plaintiff Toshiba America Medical
Systems, Inc. (“Toshiba”) was improper regarding
the scope of damages and attorneys' fee awarded.
December 28, 2016, the Third Circuit filed an Opinion
affirming this court's finding that Toshiba did not have
a duty to mitigate damages. However, the Third Circuit
vacated this court's judgment with respect to the award
of attorneys' fees and remanded the case to analyze the
reasonableness of the claimed fees. See Toshiba,
-Fed.Appx.----, 2016 WL 7467982 (3d Cir. Dec. 28, 2016).
Third Circuit also issued a Judgment on December 28, 2016
reversing in part and affirming in part this court's
November 20, 2015 Order. (Doc. 45). The Third
Circuit vacated only the portion of this court's Judgment
that awarded attorneys' fees to Toshiba and remanded the
case to this court “for an analysis of the
reasonableness of the claimed fees.” Toshiba, __
Fed.Appx. ___, 2016 WL 7467982, *1.
February 9, 2017, this court issued an Order establishing a
briefing schedule regarding Toshiba's request for
attorneys' fees and costs. (Doc. 46). The court
indicated that after the matter was briefed, it would decide
if a hearing was necessary to determine the reasonableness of
the attorneys' fees requested. As directed, Toshiba filed
its brief in support of its attorneys' fee request on
February 27, 2017, with documentation specifying the number
of hours spent by each attorney involved with the case and
the rates charged, as well as other relevant billing
information supporting its requested fees pursuant to
McMullen v. Kutz, 603 Pa. 602, 985 A.2d 769, 774
(2009). On March 13, 2017, defendants filed their brief in
opposition to the requested attorneys' fees. (Doc.
48). They did not submit any documentation with
their brief. On March 20, 2017, Toshiba filed its reply brief
with additional documentation. (Doc. 49).
portion of the original Judgment in the total amount of $1,
289, 413.72 that was attributable to attorneys' fees was
$87, 604.64, as of September 11, 2015, based on the
Declaration of Trish Malone, financial Director of
Toshiba. (Doc. 25-4, at 47-48). As such,
defendants are presently obligated to pay the remaining
undisturbed portion of the Judgment awarded to Toshiba in the
amount of $1, 201, 809.08. The court must now make findings
as to the reasonableness of the attorneys' fees and costs
requested by Toshiba and provide a statement as to the
standard governing its award. See Sec. Mut. Life
Ins. Co. of N.Y., 979 F.2d at 332.
there is no dispute that the lease agreement between Toshiba
and defendants allowed for an award of “reasonable
attorneys' fees” and costs. In fact, the Third
Circuit held that the Lease Agreement “unambiguously
states” that defendants “shall also be liable for
and shall pay to Lessor [Toshiba] . . . Lessor's
reasonable attorneys' fees.” Toshiba, -Fed.Appx.-,
2016 WL 7467982, *5. Specifically, Section 14 of the Lease
Agreement, (Doc. 47, Ex. A), provided, in part, that
in the event of a default:
Lessee shall also be liable for and shall pay to Lessor: (I)
all expenses incurred by Lessor in connection with the
enforcement of any of Lessor's remedies, including all
expenses of repossessing, storing, shipping, repairing and
selling the System; and (iii) Lessor's reasonable
defendants are obliged to pay all expenses incurred regarding
the enforcement of any of Toshiba's remedies as well as
Toshiba's reasonable attorneys' fees incurred while
enforcing its remedies since there was a clear agreement by
the parties regarding these costs. See De Hart v. HomEq
Servicing Corp., 47 .Supp.3d 246, 255 (E.D.Pa. 2014)
(“Pennsylvania courts have ‘consistently followed
the general, American rule that there can be no recovery of
attorneys' fees from an adverse party, absent an express
statutory authorization, a clear agreement by the parties or
some other established exception.'”) (citation
there any dispute that the court must analyze the
reasonableness of Toshiba's requested attorneys' fees
pursuant to Pennsylvania law. Under Pennsylvania law, the
reasonableness of the requested attorneys' fees is within
the sound discretion of the trial court. In re LaRocca's
Tr. Estate, 431 Pa. 542, 246 A.2d 337, 339 (1968). However,
“Pennsylvania courts have found an abuse of discretion
when the trial court fails to provide ‘an explanation
... of the basis for the award [of attorneys'
fees].'” Toshiba, __ Fed.Appx.__, 2016 WL 7467982,
at *2 (citing Sec. Mut. Life Ins. ...