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Pure Wafer Inc. v. City of Prescott

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 31, 2017

Pure Wafer Incorporated, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Prescott, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          James A. TeilbSrg Senior United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Pure Wafer, Inc.'s (“Pure Wafer's”) Motion for Attorneys' Fees. (“Motion, ” Doc. 142; see also Doc. 142-1). After reviewing the City of Prescott's (the “City's”) Response, (Doc. 143), and Pure Wafer's Reply, (Doc. 144), the Court now rules on the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court previously detailed the factual and procedural background in its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Permanent Injunction (the “Findings and Conclusions”). (See Doc. 87 at 1-13). After a bench trial, the Court found that the City violated the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution when it declared that its sewage treatment plant would no longer accept effluent discharged by Pure Wafer. (See Id. at 13- 29). Because the Court found in favor of Pure Wafer on its Contract Clause claims, it did not reach the merits of Pure Wafer's alternative claims for breach of contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing resulting from the parties' obligations under a Development Agreement. (Id. at 29). The Court also granted Pure Wafer's request for a permanent injunction, enjoining the City from enforcing various provisions of the City's Ordinance No. 4856-1313 (the “Ordinance”) against Pure Wafer. (See Id. at 29-32). The Court finally entered a final judgment in Pure Wafer's favor. (“Judgment, ” Doc. 88).

         The City appealed the Findings and Conclusions as well as the Judgment. (Doc. 95). The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Ninth Circuit”) affirmed-in-part and reversed-in-part and remanded for further proceedings. Pure Wafer Inc. v. City of Prescott, 845 F.3d 943, 959 (9th Cir. 2017). In particular, the Ninth Circuit held:

[W]hile the City prevails on its appeal of the Contract Clause issue, judgment for Pure Wafer can be sustained on the alternative ground that the City has breached its contract with Pure Wafer. We leave it for the district court on remand to decide the appropriate remedy.

Id. at 958. The Ninth Circuit also affirmed the Court's judgment on the City's counterclaim. Id. at 958 n.14.

         After the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion, Pure Wafer filed its motion for attorneys' fees with the Ninth Circuit. (Doc. 142-1 at 10). The Ninth Circuit subsequently filed an order remanding Pure Wafer's motion for attorneys' fees to this Court.[1](Doc. 136). The Court then issued an order allowing the parties to refile the same pleadings regarding the motion for attorneys' fees that they filed with the Ninth Circuit. (Doc. 140).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Ninth Circuit Rule 39-1.6 governs the procedure for attorneys' fees motions on appeal. This rule sets forth the required content of the memorandum in support of the motion, the necessary supporting documentation-including an itemized statement of fees, a showing that the hourly rates are legally justified, and an affidavit attesting to the accuracy of the information-and the format and description requirements of the itemized statement. 9th Cir. R. 39-1. The parties' Development Agreement provides that “the prevailing party shall be entitled to reasonable attorneys' fees and all reasonable costs, expenses, and disbursements in connection with such action.” (Doc. 1-1 at 16).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Pure Wafer seeks an award of $87, 548.12 in attorneys' fees and an additional $8, 554.25 in other litigation costs and expenses, for a total of $96, 102.37. (Doc. 142-1 at 4). The City argues that Pure Wafer is not entitled to these fees, costs, and expenses because: (1) Pure Wafer is not the prevailing party; (2) Pure Wafer seeks costs unrelated to the appeal, improperly seeks costs, and seeks costs that are unreasonable; (3) Pure Wafer's request is a procedurally deficient collateral attack on the Court's determination that costs are not appropriate in this case; and (4) Pure Wafer's requested attorneys' fees are unreasonable and should be reduced by at least $32, 899.37, if awarded. (See Doc. 143 at 2-7).

         A. Prevailing Party

         The City argues that Pure Wafer is not the prevailing party because the matter was remanded to this Court and some of Pure Wafer's arguments were rejected on appeal. (Doc. 134-1 at 3). The Ninth Circuit held “judgment for Pure Wafer can be sustained on the alternative ground that the City has breached its contract with Pure Wafer.” Pure Wafer, 845 F.3d at 959. Although, the Ninth Circuit noted that the City prevailed on its Contract Clause argument, Pure Wafer is ultimately the ...


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