Lane Powell Obtains $1.1 Million Monetary Sanction in State Court Proceedings
In April 2014, Lane Powell client Spokane Rock 1, LLC obtained dismissal and default sanctions, and an award of attorneys’ fees with all amounts to be determined. The April 2014 order further imposed $27,000 in sanctions on plaintiff’s counsel, and the unique sanction of requiring the offending parties to file a copy of the order in every legal proceeding in which they appear for the next five years.
The parties proceeded to negotiate the default judgment amount, and filed pleadings so the state court could determine fees and costs. Lane Powell submitted expert testimony as to the reasonableness of its fees and costs request, which totaled $1,236,254.84. On January 29, the King County Superior Court awarded $1,103,376.51, and entered the $22 million default judgment in favor of Spokane Rock. These orders conclude a three year discovery battle.
Of note are the court’s findings that Lane Powell’s efforts in the litigation were, at all times, “reasonable, necessary and justified,” and “[u]nder the circumstances of this case, Spokane Rock 1 reasonably could have thrown up its hands in frustration, rather than spending the necessary time and energy investigating — and ultimately proving correct — suspicions and allegations of serious wrongdoing.” Lane Powell’s staffing was found to be “careful and appropriate,” as were the background, qualifications and billing rates of Lane Powell attorneys and other personnel. And while the court ultimately did not apply a multiplier, it did agree that a multiplier of two would have been reasonable and appropriate given the “extraordinary circumstances” and “exceptional result” obtained.
The Spokane Rock team included Lane Powell Attorneys Laura Marquez-Garrett, Chuck Ekberg and Jessica Hoerschelmann.
The case was featured in a January 29 Law360 article titled “Wash. Developer Hit With $1M Atty Fee for ‘Abuse’ of Process.”