Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division
May 4, 2021, Decided; May 4, 2021, Filed
Case No. 3:17-cv-00025
ENTRY AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES (DOC. 72) AND SUPPLEMENTAL APPLICATION FOR AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES (DOC. 78)
Pending before the Court in this ERISA case is Defendant's Motion for Award of Attorneys' Fees (Doc. 72) (the "Motion"), filed by Defendant Minnesota Life Insurance Company ("Minnesota Life"), and the parties' associated briefing on the Motion (Docs. 73, 74, 78, and 79).1 As the Motion's title indicates, Minnesota Life seeks certain attorneys' fees it incurred during this litigation. Following the Mandate issued by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Doc. [*2] 77), as well as completion of supplemental briefing on the Motion, the matter is ripe for review and decision.
In certain ERISA actions, "the court in its discretion may allow a reasonable attorney's fee and costs of action to either party." 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1); see also Moore v. Lafayette Life Ins. Co., 458 F.3d 416, 446 (6th Cir. 2006) ("there is no presumption of award of attorneys' fees to the prevailing party in an ERISA action"). The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has identified five factors to guide district courts in deciding whether to grant attorney's fees under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1). Sec'y of Dep't of Labor v. King, 775 F.2d 666, 669 (6th Cir. 1985) ("King"). Those factors are: "(1) the degree of the opposing party's culpability or bad faith; (2) the opposing party's ability to satisfy an award of attorney's fees; (3) the deterrent effect of an award on other persons under similar circumstances; (4) whether the party requesting fees sought to confer a common benefit on all participants and beneficiaries of an ERISA plan or resolve significant legal questions regarding ERISA; and (5) the relative merits of the parties' positions." Id. "No single factor is determinative." Trs. of Detroit Carpenters Fringe Benefit Funds v. Patrie Constr. Co., 618 F. App'x 246, 258 (6th Cir. 2015).
The Court initially finds that Minnesota Life has achieved more than the requisite "'some degree of success on the merits' before a court may award attorney's fees under § 1132(g)(1)." [*3] Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., 560 U.S. 242, 255, 130 S. Ct. 2149, 176 L. Ed. 2d 998 (2010). However, the Court, in its discretion, declines to award Minnesota Life any attorney's fees. 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84729 *; 2021 WL 1759634
CHARLIE DUNCAN, et al., Plaintiffs, v. MINNESOTA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
Prior History: Duncan v. Minn. Life Ins. Co., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2356, 2018 WL 306609 (S.D. Ohio, Jan. 5, 2018)
attorney's fees, factors, frivolous, pursued, award of attorney's fees, bad faith, culpability, claimants, deterrent, positions, baseless, district court, opposing party, circumstances, alterations, disagrees, quotation, briefing, declines, merits, costs, marks, weigh