Telewizja Polska USA, Inc. v. Echostar Satellite Corp., No. 04 C 3293, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Oct. 30, 2007) (Guzman, J.).
Judge Guzman adopted Magistrate Judge Keys’s Report and Recommendation in its entirety, awarding plaintiff all of the approximately $800,000 in attorney’s fees and costs plaintiff sought pursuant to the fee-shifting provision in the parties’ agreement and Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d). At trial, plaintiff sought approximately $2.8M for its breach of contract claim and approximately $5.8M for its unjust enrichment claim – the claims were plead in the alternative. The jury awarded plaintiff approximately $1.4M on the breach of contract claim. The jury also awarded defendant $1 in compensatory damages and approximately $18,000 in punitive damages on defendant’s defamation counterclaim. Defendant argued that plaintiff was not the prevailing party, as required by Rule 54(d) and, therefore, should not be awarded its fees and costs or, at least, should be awarded a reduced amount.
But the Court held that plaintiff prevailed by winning one of its major claims, even though the contract claim was worth less than the unjust enrichment claim, based upon plaintiff’s analysis. Additionally, the $1.4M jury award based upon a $7M demand was sufficient to be considered prevailing. The Court noted that parties have been considered prevailing when a jury awarded even 10% of plaintiff’s demand. The Court also suggested that the outcome might have been different if plaintiff had lost on the claim which created the Court’s federal question jurisdiction. But in this case, jurisdiction was based upon diversity. Finally, the Court denied defendant’s request to reduce counsel’s hours or rates because defendant previously agreed not to challenge the reasonableness of the fees.