Association for Disabled Americans v. Integra

Decision Date14 October 2004
Docket NumberNo. 04-11497 Non-Argument Calendar.,04-11497 Non-Argument Calendar.
Citation387 F.3d 1241
PartiesASSOCIATION FOR DISABLED AMERICANS, INC., et al., Plaintiffs, Jorge Luis Rodriguez, Disability Advocates and Counseling Group, Inc., Steven Brother, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. INTEGRA RESORT MANAGEMENT, INC., Enclave Resort Hotel, L.L.C., d.b.a. The Enclave, The Enclave at Orlando Condominium Association, Inc., a Florida non-profit corporation, Defendants-Appellees.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit

William Nicholas Charouhis, Charouhis & Associates, P.A., Miami, FL, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

James E. Shepherd, V, Pohl & Short, P.A., Winter Park, FL, for Defendants-Appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Before BLACK, BARKETT and GODBOLD, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

This case comes to us on a challenge to an attorney's fee award and costs set by a magistrate. We are unable engage in a meaningful review of the magistrate's decision because he did not articulate a basis or methodology for the award.

In November 2003 the above parties entered into a consent decree in which the appellees agreed to settle the appellants' Americans With Disabilities claim and to pay (1) appellants' reasonable attorney fees, litigation expenses and costs and (2) appellants' expert for reasonable expert fees and costs. Under the agreement any dispute over the reasonableness of such fees and costs may be resolved by either a district judge or a magistrate judge. In December 2003 a dispute ensued over the reasonableness of the fees and costs sought by the appellants. The issue was referred to a magistrate. The appellees disputed the award sought by the appellants on several grounds including: the hourly rate used by the appellants' counsel, number of hours billed, the costs sought by appellants' counsel, the multiplier sought by the appellants and the expert's costs and fees.

The magistrate issued a cursory order in which he delineated the amount sought by the appellants for costs and fees under the multiplier methodology ($147,366.54) and the amount believed by the appellees to be reasonable ($22,686.30). The appellees argued that the appellants' multiplier claim was so unreasonable that the appellees should not be required to pay for responding to it. The magistrate agreed with the appellees and reduced the award by $2,000. Consequently the magistrate entered a judgment for the appellants in the amount of $20,686.30. The appellants now appeal, seeking $62,102.09, an amount solely made up of attorney and expert fees and costs. This amount excludes the multiplier that had previously been used by appellants to arrive at the figure of $147,366.54.

"We review a [magistrate's] order awarding attorney fees for an abuse of discretion." American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia v. Barnes, 168 F.3d 423, 427 (11th Cir.1999). The magistrate's order "`must articulate the decisions it made, give principled reasons for those decisions, and show its calculations.'" Id. (quoting Norman v. Housing Auth. of Montgomery, 836 F.2d 1292, 1304 (11th Cir.1988)). Otherwise we are left with no basis on which to review the magistrate's decision. See Davis v. Fletcher, Jr., 598 F.2d 469, 470 (5th Cir.1979).1 In reaching its calculations the magistrate should calculate the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate. Barnes, 168 F.3d at 427. "If the [magistrate] disallows hours, it must explain which hours are disallowed and show why an award of these hours would be improper." Norman v. Housing Auth. of Montgomery, 836 F.2d 1292, 1304 (11th Cir.1988).

The magistrate did not articulate a basis for the award or show the hourly rate calculations utilized. He simply adopted the fees and costs asserted by appellees as reasonable. Without an explanation of the basis for the award we lack the necessary...

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6 cases
  • Ass'n for Disabled Amer. v. Integra Resort Man.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Florida
    • August 2, 2005
    ...the undersigned to articulate the basis for the award so as to permit meaningful review. Association for Disabled Americans, Inc. v. Integra Resort Management, Inc., 387 F.3d 1241 (11th Cir.2004). The Court of Appeals returned the record and issued the decision as a mandate on March 3, 2005......
  • Airtran Airways, Inc. v. Brenda Elem, Mark D. Link, & Link & Smith, P.C.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • September 23, 2014
    ...a decision” and “continued to litigate the case in this Court as though nothing had changed”); Ass'n for Disabled Ams., Inc. v. Integra Resort Mgmt., Inc., 387 F.3d 1241, 1243 (11th Cir.2004) (holding that an appeal was not moot where appellants “specifically reserved their right to appeal”......
  • Airtran Airways, Inc. v. Elem
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • September 23, 2014
    ...a decision” and “continued to litigate the case in this Court as though nothing had changed”); Ass'n for Disabled Ams., Inc. v. Integra Resort Mgmt., Inc., 387 F.3d 1241, 1243 (11th Cir.2004) (holding that an appeal was not moot where appellants “specifically reserved their right to appeal”......
  • Res-Ga Cobblestone, LLC v. Blake Constr.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • June 19, 2013
    ...Moreover, Roberts never purported to reserve the right to continue to pursue this appeal. See Ass'n for Disabled Ams., Inc. v. Integra Resort Mgmt., Inc., 387 F.3d 1241, 1243 (11th Cir.2004) (reasoning that express reservation of a cognizable issue for appeal is relevant to deciding if paym......
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