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Hm Hotel Properties v. Peerless Indemnity Insurance Co.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 30, 2013

HM Hotel Properties, Plaintiff,
v.
Peerless Indemnity Insurance Company, Defendant.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Defendant Peerless Indemnity Insurance Company has filed a motion for attorneys' fees in relation to its successful motion to dismiss (Doc. 8) and its successful motion for summary judgment (Doc. 56). Doc. 72. The motion is fully briefed. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the motion.[1]

I. Background.

Plaintiff filed a complaint on February 9, 2012, alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and declaratory relief. Doc. 1-1. The Court dismissed five of the seven claims on June 18, 2012. Doc. 15. The Court granted summary judgment on the remaining claims on August 23, 2013. Doc. 68. Defendant now asks the Court to award attorneys' fees in the amount of $129, 413.31, in connection with this action, and has filed a memorandum and documentation in support of its motion. Doc. 72.

II. Legal Standard.

Under Arizona law, "[i]n any contested action arising out of a contract, express or implied, the court may award the successful party reasonable attorney fees." A.R.S. ยง 12-341.01(A). The trial court has discretion regarding an award of attorneys' fees. See Wilcox v. Waldman, 744 P.2d 444, 450 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1987). To determine whether an award is appropriate, courts consider:

1. the merits of the unsuccessful party's claim;
2. whether the litigation could have been avoided or settled and whether the successful party's efforts were completely superfluous in achieving the ultimate result;
3. whether assessing fees against the unsuccessful party would cause extreme hardship;
4. whether the successful party prevailed with respect to all relief sought;
5. whether the legal question presented was novel or had been previously adjudicated; and
6. whether a fee award would discourage other parties with tenable claims from litigating.

Velarde v. PACE Membership Warehouse, Inc., 105 F.3d 1313, 1319-20 (9th Cir. 1997); Associated Indemn. Corp. v. Warner, 694 P.2d 1181, 1184 (Ariz. 1985) (en banc); Uyleman v. D.S. Rentco, 981 P.2d 1081, 1086 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1999). No single factor is to be considered determinative, and the Court must weigh all ...


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