CHICAGO (jGLi) – On July 10, last year, when Pacquiao’s lawyers asked Floyd Mayweather, Jr. to be deposed, Mayweather, declined the court-ordered deposition, saying he has “begun an intense training regimen” for his bout with Victor Ortiz.
It turned out, Mayweather “hosted a party with rapper Gucci Mane at a different nightclub in Atlanta where he was captured on film burning a $100 bill.”
On July 13 (2011), a date Pacquiao had offered for deposition and Mayweather refused – Mayweather was at a nightclub in Miami, Florida, where he remained and on July 16, he sent a message on Twitter: “2nite I’m at club #Dream … It’s going 2 be crazy.”
Last Monday, Sept. 17, Judge Larry R. Hicks of the United States District of Nevada in Las Vegas had had enough of Mayweather’s theatrics. Judge Hicks ordered Mayweather to award Manny Pacquiao’s lawyers $113,518.50 and additional $774.10 in court cost in favor of Mr. Pacquiao for Pacquiao’s lawyers dogged effort to depose and prepare motions to have Mayweather deposed.
On Dec. 19, 2011, Judge Hicks denied Pacquiao’s lawyers motion for attorney’s fees “without prejudice” for failure of Pacquiao’s lawyers to provide “a general breakdown that counsel worked 196.9 hours on scheduling Mayweather, Jr’s deposition and drafting the related motions.
But in a renewed motion by Pacquiao’s lead lawyers David Marroso and Daniel M. Petrocelli for attorney’s fees on Dec. 30, 2011, Mr. Marroso presented a “detailed spreadsheet that mirrors and organizes the actual invoices submitted to Pacquiao. The spreadsheet identifies every task performed, the date on which the task was performed, the attorney, who performed the task, a detailed description of the work performed, the amount of time expended on each task, and the amount of money billed to Pacquiao for the task.”
During a hearing of case last Aug. 8, 2012 for the renewed motion for attorney’s fees, the court “made an initial finding that the lodestar rate requested in this action (litigation between very preeminent stars within the boxing industry) along with the amount of hours billed, were reasonable in light of the nature of this action.”
(A lodestar is the amount obtained by multiplying the reasonable amount of hours spent by an attorney working on a case by the reasonable hourly billing rate for purposes of calculating an award of attorney’s fees.)
LAWYERS BILL PACQUIAO BILLED $695 PER HOUR
Mr. Marroso of the O’Melveny & Myers LLP was billing Pacquiao $695 per hour while Marroso’s associate, Harrison Whitman, who graduated from law school in 2008, was charging Pacquiao $495 per hour.
But Mayweather’s lawyers led by Mark G. Tratos argued in opposing Pacquiao’s lawyers lodestar that “because courts have approved fee requests of $350/hr and $400/hr, Pacquiao’s request for a lodestar of $505.84 is ‘exorbitant.’”
According to Pacquiao’s lawyers, “between two widely known professional athletes, the parties can reasonably be expected to retain nationally respected law firms and nationally respected attorneys to pursue their interests in the litigation.
“The results of such representation are going to be higher lodestars than normally seen in this district, but lodestars that are comparable to the amount and quality of work performed and expected to be performed.”
In his order, Judge Hicks said, the “court finds that these billing rates, and the total requested lodestar of $505.84 per hour, are reasonable in this action based on the experience of the attorneys involved and the nature of this particular litigation between two professional athletes.”
Hicks added, “the court notes that the award of attorney’s fees in this matter is a sanction against Mayweather’s obviously intentional decision not to appear for his court ordered deposition. This was a direct discovery violation after the court had entered a very clear order that the deposition go forward.
“As the court stated at the motion hearing, ‘the bottom line is that [the Court] is dealing with a defendant who failed to appear at his deposition and under circumstances, which the Court has already ruled, deserves sanctions. And sanctions could have been as serious as dismissal of the defense case.’”
The court order is part of the federal defamation suit filed by Pacquiao against Mayweather and several others “whose direct and proximate result of defendants’ statements” has caused the Filipino world boxing champion’s continued damage “far in excess of $5-M” and “because defendants’ conduct was undertaken in bad faith and with fraud, malice and oppression.” Pacquiao is also seeking punitive damages for which “defendants are jointly and severally liable for all the conduct and damages alleged therein.”
Pacquiao has sought a jury trial, which will start in earnest as soon as discoveries and depositions from both sides are completed.
The lawsuit started soon after the negotiations between the two premiere fighters that promises to be the richest ever broke apart in 2009.
Pacquiao (54-4-2) will be facing Mexican champion Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1) in their tetralogy or quadrilogy on December 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, live on HBO PPV. Mayweather just got out on Aug. 3 from Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas after serving two of three months detention order for reduced domestic battery charges. (firstname.lastname@example.org)