KOSRAE STATE COURT TRIAL DIVISION
Cite as Jackson v. George
10 FSM Intrm. 531 ( Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2002)
 
[10 FSM Intrm. 531]
 
DOROTHY JACKSON,
Plaintiff,
 
vs.
 
STEVEN GEORGE,
Defendant.
 
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2-00
 
AWARD OF ATTORNEY'S FEES; JUDGMENT
 
Aliksa B. Aliksa
Associate Justice
 
Decided: February 28, 2002
 
APPEARANCES:
 
For the Plaintiff:                              Charlton Timothy, trial counselor
                                                         P.O. Box 479
                                                         Lelu, Kosrae FM 96944
 
[10 FSM Intrm. 532]
 
For the Defendant:                        Canney Palsis, Esq.
                                                        Directing Attorney
                                                        Micronesian Legal Services Corporation
                                                        P.O. Box 38
                                                        Lelu, Kosrae FM 96944

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HEADNOTES
 
Attorney, Trial Counselor and Client ) Fees; Contracts
     An attorney's fee must be reasonable, and the court must make such a finding. Therefore, contract provisions for the payment of attorney's fees will be enforced only to the extent that the fees demanded are reasonable. In debt collection cases, the amount awarded for attorney's fees should not exceed 15 percent of the outstanding principal and interest. Jackson v. George, 10 FSM Intrm. 531, 532-33 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2002).
 
Attorney, Trial Counselor and Client ) Fees
     The court must first determine the reasonableness of the plaintiff's claim for attorney's fees and costs. Any attorney's fees award must be based upon a showing and a judicial finding, that the amount of fees is reasonable based on detailed supporting documentation showing the date, the work done, and the amount of time spent on each service for which a claim for compensation is made. Jackson v. George, 10 FSM Intrm. 531, 533 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2002).
 
Attorney, Trial Counselor and Client ) Fees
     The Kosrae State Court will adopt the 15% limitation established in Bank of Hawaii v. Jack, and when the total amount of the plaintiff's attorney fees claim is excessive, but the plaintiff's claim for trial preparation, representation at trial and preparation of the written summation is reasonable, a 15% attorney fees award is reasonable and just. Jackson v. George, 10 FSM Intrm. 531, 533 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2002).

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COURT'S OPINION

ALIKSA B. ALIKSA, Associate Justice:

     This Court, in its Ruling on Damages and Order entered on January 2, 2002 [10 FSM Intrm.523], determined that the Plaintiff is entitled to recover attorney fees, pursuant to the car rental agreement entered into by the parties in this case. The parties were ordered to submit documentation and briefing on the amount of attorney fees claimed by the Plaintiff. On January 15, 2001, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Award of Attorney Fee Amount, with an affidavit of counsel. Defendant filed his Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees on February 4, 2002.

     This Court has already ruled that the Plaintiff is entitled to recover the amount of $850 in damages from the Defendant for costs of repair and parts for the damaged rental vehicle. This Court has also already determined that the Plaintiff is entitled to recover attorney fees from the Defendant. Only the amount of attorney fees to be awarded remains to be determined.

     An attorney's fee must be reasonable, and the court must make such a finding. Mobil Oil Micronesia, Inc. v. Benjamin, 10 FSM Intrm. 100 (Kos. 2001). Therefore, provisions in a contract for

[10 FSM Intrm. 533]

the payment of attorney's fees will be enforced only to the extent that the fees demanded are reasonable. Bank of Hawaii v. Jack, 4 FSM Intrm. 216, 219 (Pon. 1990). In debt collection cases, the amount awarded for attorney's fees should not exceed 15 percent of the outstanding principal and interest. Id. at 220.

     The Court must first determine the reasonableness of the Plaintiff's claim for attorney's fees and costs. Senda v. Creditors of Mid-Pacific Constr. Co., 7 FSM Intrm. 664, 673 (App. 1996). Any award of attorney's fees must be based upon a showing and a judicial finding, that the amount of fees is reasonable. Bank of the FSM v. Bartolome, 4 FSM Intrm. 182, 184 (Pon. 1990). The Plaintiff must submit detailed supporting documentation showing the date, the work done, and the amount of time spent on each service for which a claim for compensation is made. Jack, 4 FSM Intrm. at 219.

     The Plaintiff has submitted supporting documentation showing his hourly rate, the date, the work done, and the amount of time spent on each service for which a claim for compensation is made. Plaintiff claims the amount of $1,220 in attorney fees. The total amount claimed by the Plaintiff for attorney fees is excessive under Bank of Hawaii v. Jack. However, the Court finds that Plaintiff's claim for trial preparation, representation at trial and preparation of the written summation to be reasonable. Based upon the documentation submitted by the Plaintiff, and adopting the 15% limitation established in Bank of Hawaii v. Jack, I find that an award of attorney fees in the amount of $127.50 in this matter is reasonable and just. Accordingly, the amount of attorney fees awarded to the Plaintiff shall be a total of $127.50.

     Judgment shall be entered in favor of the Plaintiff and against the Defendant. Plaintiff shall recover a total of $850 in damages from the Defendant for costs of repair and parts to the damaged rental vehicle. Plaintiff shall also recover attorney's fees in the amount of $127.50, for a total judgment amount of $977.50.

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