Plaintiff Awarded Attorneys’ Fees and Costs for Improper Removal

WASHINGTON — Plaintiff Barbadin filed suit against defendants including Scapa Dryer Fabrics and AstenJohnsten, Inc. (defendants) alleging exposure to asbestos containing products for which the defendants were responsible.

Scapa removed the matter on April 17, 2017.  The plaintiff quickly moved for remand and sought fees and costs. The court noted that it had previously remanded this case one time. The court concluded that Scapa had taken “inconsistent positions in an effort to keep this action in federal court” and used “untenable arguments.” The court also granted the plaintiff’s request for fees and costs but instructed the plaintiff to detail her fees and costs. The defendants were invited to file a reply to the plaintiff’s submission on fees and costs but did not. For calculating costs, the court relied on the lodestar method which takes the hours worked multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. An adjustment of the sum may be then determined by the court for other mitigating factors. Of course, the rate is set by the regional market rate according to the court. For the adjustment, the court may consider factors including skill level, the challenge of the work and experience of the attorney amongst others. Here, the court found that Plaintiff’s submission met all reasonableness under the circumstances especially in light of the defendants filing no opposition. Accordingly, the court awarded the plaintiff attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $7,702.50.

Read the full decision here.