Two Practice Pointers: Redacting Fee Statements and Post-Judgment Interest Rates

THB Construction, LLC v. Holt Texas, Ltd.
Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-20-00020-CV (January 13, 2022)
Justices Myers, Partida-Kipness (Opinion, linked here), and Carlyle
The opinion of the Dallas Court of Appeals in THB Construction included two important reminders, the first for those practitioners proving up attorney’s fees, and the second for those seeking the maximum post-judgment interest allowed by law:

First, when seeking attorney’s fees, don’t go overboard in redacting the fee statements you submit to prove up those fees. Redactions are customary and necessary to avoid revealing confidential information protected by privilege or to eliminate time and expenses for tasks not covered by the fee request. But in THB Construction, the Court found the plaintiff’s redactions to be so extensive for one period of time that those billing records did not constitute “evidence identifying the specific tasks performed, the individual who performed the tasks, and the time each task took,” as required under Rohrmoos. That led to the reversal or remittitur of a significant portion of the fees awarded by the trial court. So, redact as necessary, but be careful and don’t overdo it. And supplement with other evidence if need be.

Second, remember that the Finance Code sets different levels of maximum post-judgment interest, depending on the basis for the judgment. In most circumstances, the post-judgment interest rate is 5%, unless the prime rate is higher. Tex. Fin. Code § 304.003. If the judgment is based on a contract “that provides for interest or time price differential,” however, post-judgment interest accrues at the “rate specified in the contract,” as one would expect. Tex. Fin. Code § 304.002. But, if the contract provides for interest but doesn’t specify a rate, then the court should order post-judgment interest at “18 percent a year.” Id.
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