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ROBERT H. TAYLOR,
JAMES E. GAITHER, ET AL.,
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, MOBILE DIVISION
 This lawsuit is now before the court on the motion of defendants Candice
Trahan and Tina Blanchard for sanctions against plaintiff Robert H. Taylor
pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons
that follow, this motion will be granted.
Chronologically, the relevant events are as follows.
 FEBRUARY 22, 1998: Taylor filed suit in this court seeking
to enjoin his employer, Petroleum Helicopters, Inc., and
present and former employees of the Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) from garnishing his wages or otherwise collecting income
tax from him. That case was dismissed by United States District
Judge Virgil Pittman on July 31, 1998.
 APRIL 20, 2000: Taylor filed this lawsuit against United
States District Judges Pittman and Charles Butler, charging
them with conspiracy to deprive him of equal protection of
the law, in violation of 42 U.S.C.A. section 1985; against
Trahan and Blanchard (two other employees of Petroleum Helicopters,
Inc.) and against former or present employees of the IRS,
charging them with violating the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C.A. section 1961 et seq.,
committing federal mail fraud in contravention of 18 U.S.C.A.
section 1341, and for common-law extortion.
 JUNE 16, 2000: Trahan and Blanchard filed a motion to
dismiss with the court, and they served a copy of a motion
for Rule 11 sanctions on Taylor. The sanctions action requested
that reasonable attorney's fees be taxed against Taylor for
the frivolous prosecution of this suit.
 JULY 7, 2000: Trahan and Blanchard filed their motion
for sanctions with the court.
 AUGUST 24, 2000: The court dismissed Taylor's claims
against Trahan and Blanchard.
II. LIABILITY FOR SANCTIONS
 Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure empowers
a court to impose "appropriate sanctions upon  attorneys,
law firms or parties," Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c), for presenting
pleadings, motions, and other papers to the court, for improper
purposes, frivolous arguments, or factual allegations that
lack evidentiary support. Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b). The rule
also provides a "safe harbor" by requiring the
moving party to serve the nonmoving party with the motion,
but the motion itself may not be filed with the court "within
21 days after service." Id. 11(c)(1)(A). This gives
the nonmoving party ample opportunity to withdraw or remedy
the submission to the court or to make clear its non-frivolous
nature and thus avoid possible sanction. In this case, there
is no doubt that the 21-day notice period required for a
notion for sanctions under Rule 11 has been satisfied.
 Faced with a motion for sanctions, a court must consider
two questions. First, the court must determine whether the
claims that are the subject of the notion are objectively
frivolous; second, the court must ascertain whether the person
responsible should have been aware that the claims were frivolous.
See Baker v. Alderman, 158 F.3d 516, 524 (11th Cir. 1998).
 Rule 11 sanctions are not appropriate where a claim
is brought solely as a result of poor judgment. See Davis
v. Carl, 906 F.2d 533, 537 (11th Cir. 1990). However, where
there is evidence that a claim is brought in bad faith, Rule
11 sanctions are appropriate. See Nesmith v. Martin Marietta
Aerospace, 833 F.2d, 1489, 1491 (11th Cir. 1987) (discussing
inclination to reverse Rule 11 sanctions where there was
insufficient evidence of bad faith).
 On the facts of this case, sanctions against Taylor
are warranted. His claims are unfounded in law and advance
no reasonable argument to change existing law. See Baker,
158 F.3d at 524. It is obvious from Taylor's complaint that
he has already raised substantially the same claim as to
his tax liability in a previously dismissed lawsuit. See
Complaint at paragraph 28. In this lawsuit, as stated, he
has added additional defendants, including Trahan and Blanchard,
as well as additional claims. His new claims arise out of
the dismissal of his previous suit and relate to the imposition
of tax liability on him and attempts to collect taxes from
him. As the court explained in its order entered August 24,
2000, the sixteenth amendment to the United States Constitution
empowers Congress to "lay and collect taxes on income,
from whatever source derived." Title 26 of the United
States Code, known as the Internal Revenue Code, is a lawful
exercise of that constitutional power. It is legally indisputable
that the proper attempts by Taylor's employer, through Blanchard
and Trahan, to comply with the tax cannot give rise to claims
for extortion, racketeering, or mail fraud.
 It is also manifest that a reasonable person should
have been aware of this. This standard is an objective one
and does not turn on the individual capabilities of the party
against whom sanctions are sought. See Baker, 158 F.3d at
524. As the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has framed
this inquiry, the court must ask whether the prosecution
of this suit was reasonable under the circumstances at the
time the suit was filed. See id. The laws that make this
suit objectively unreasonable were firmly established when
this case was filed, and, indeed, long before Taylor's first
case was filed in 1998. There was no doubt before this suit
was filed that the income tax is a legal exercise of Congress's
constitutional power, and that the IRS in legally empowered
to collect that tax. Taylor's claims do not present any colorable
arguments that call this into doubt, nor do they present
any issue of first impression. Moreover, even were the standard
of reasonableness not objective, the pleadings in this case
show considerable effort and research, indicating that Taylor
is a motivated and capable litigant. The court is satisfied
that any reasonable person, especially one of Taylor's ability
and motivation, should have known that his claims against
Trahan and Blanchard were frivolous.
 Finally, the court is satisfied that the pleadings
that Taylor has filed provide evidence that these papers
were not submitted for a proper purpose. For example, in
his notion for summary judgment, filed on July 9, 2000, Taylor
asserts that defendants
"could have prevented this civil suit by providing
Plaintiff with a section of law making Plaintiff 'subject'
to or 'liable' for a so-called income tax. The latest occasion
being December, 1999. . . . The reason they have been unable
to do so is because no such sections exist in law or fact."
Although the summary-judgment motion was filed after Trahan and Blanchard filed
their motion for sanctions, it is evident from the part of his motion quoted
that Taylor is unwilling to recognize existing law, and that he blames this
suit on Trahan and Blanchard's inability to convince him otherwise. Trahan
and Blanchard are under no obligation to convince Taylor that he is subject
to the tax laws.
 Taylor's complaint reveals that he has filed at least
two frivolous lawsuits in this court because he is unconvinced
that he must pay United States income tax. As Taylor continues
to maintain this position after this court has made as plain
as possible the unquestionable constitutional and legal basis
of the income tax as it applies to him, the court doubts
whether it lies within any powers of reason to "convince" Taylor.
The court also finds that this is evidence of intent to frustrate
Trahan and Blanchard in the lawful exercise of their employment.
This is not a proper purpose for bringing suit in this court.
 Taylor's pro so status is no shield against sanctions.
As the Eleventh Circuit has made plain, "one acting
pro so has no license to harass others, clog the judicial
machinery with meritless litigation, and abuse already overloaded
court dockets." Patterson v. Aiken, 841 F.2d 386, 387
(11th Cir. 1988) (quoting Ferguson v. MBank Houston, N.A.,
806 F.2d 358, 359 (3th Cir. 1986)). Accordingly the motion
for sanctions against Taylor will be granted.
III. ATTORNEYS' FEES & EXPENSES
 Trahan and Blanchard have requested attorney's fees
and expenses in the amount of $3,681.47 as sanctions against
Taylor. Rule 11 specifically contemplates an award of "some
or all of the reasonable attorney's fees and other expenses
incurred as a direct result of the violation." Fed.
R. Civ. P. 11(c)(2). The violation in this instance was the
prosecution of this lawsuit. Thus the court must ask what,
if any, of Trahan and Blanchard's attorney's fees and expenses
in this suit should be allowed as sanctions.
 Trahan and Blanchard have submitted detailed billing
statements delineating the legal fees and costs of defending
the case against them. Although Rule 11 does not provide
specific guidance as to what constitutes reasonable fees
or expenses, other courts assessing fees and costs as Rule
11 sanctions have used the "lodestar" approach.
See, e.g., View Engineering, Inc. v. Robotic Vision Systems,
Inc., 208 F.3d 981 (Fed. Cir. 2000); Harsch v. Eisenberg,
956 F.2d 651 (7th Cir. 1992).
 The starting point in setting an attorney's fee is
determining the "lodestar" figure -- that in, the
product of the number of hours reasonably expended to prosecute
the lawsuit and the reasonable hourly rate for work performed
by similarly situated attorneys in the community. After calculating
the lodestar fee, the court should then proceed with an analysis
of whether this fee should be adjusted upwards or downwards.
See Hensly v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 433-34, 103 S. Ct. 1933,
1939-40 (1983). In making these determinations, the court
should be guided by the 12 factors set out in Johnson v.
Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 488 F.2d 714, 717-19 (5th
Cir. 1974). 1 See Blanchard v. Bergeron, 489 U.S.
87, 91-92, 109 S. Ct. 939, 943-44 (1989). These factors are:
(1) the time and labor required; (2) the novelty and difficulty
of the questions; (3) the skill required to perform the legal
services properly; (4) the preclusion of other employment
by the attorney due to the case; (5) the customary fee in
the community; (6) whether the fee is fixed or contingent;
(7) time limitations imposed by the client or circumstances;
(8) the amount involved and the results obtained; (9) the
experience, reputation, and ability of the attorneys; (10)
the "undesirability" of the case; (11) the nature
and length of the professional relationship with the client;
and (12) awards in similar cases.
 T.J. Woodford, Matthew C. McDonald, and Edward B. Holzwanger
represented Trahan and Blanchard in this matter. Woodford
seeks compensation for 15.04 hours at a rate of $175.00 per
hour; McDonald seeks compensation for 2.88 hours at $205.00
per hour; and Holzwanger seeks compensation for 4.17 hours
at a rate of $50.00 per hour.
 The court considers three Johnson factors -- the time
and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the case,
and the customary fee in the community -- in assessing the
reasonableness of the hours claimed. The court notes that
Taylor has not challenged the reasonableness of any of the
hours; however, the court itself is obliged to assess independently
the reasonableness of the attorney's fees claimed. 2 The
court, after closely considering the billing records and
hours spent, considers that the hours charged were reasonable
given the nature of the case. It is also apparent that Woodford,
McDonald, and Holzwanger exercised conservative billing judgment
by not charging for all their hours. Thus, Trahan and Blanchard
are entitled to the following hours: Woodford for 15.04;
McDonald for 2.88; and Holzwanger for 4.17.
 Next, the court considers the prevailing market rate
that should be assessed for these hours. "A reasonable
hourly rate is the prevailing market rate in the relevant
legal community for similar services by lawyers of reasonably
comparable skills, experience, and reputation." Norman
v. Housing Authority of Montgomery, 836 F.2d 1292, 1299 (11th
Cir. 1988). In civil rights cases in which fees are assessed,
the court determines the fee with regard to the remaining
Johnson factors. See 488 F.2d at 717-19. However, Johnson
factors are only of limited use in this context which does
not involve civil rights issues and where the primary consideration
is to deter the conduct that is being sanctioned. Nevertheless,
the court will consider the following Johnson factors: customary
fee; novelty and difficulty of the questions; skill required
to perform the legal services properly; experience, reputation,
and ability of the attorneys; time limitations; preclusion
of other employment; nature and length of the attorneys'
relationship with their clients; and awards in similar cases.
 Preliminarily, the court notes that there is insufficient
evidence to support the Johnson factors of experience and
reputation of the attorneys, preclusion of other employment,
and the nature and length of the attorneys' relationship
with their clients. Moreover, this case did not present any
particularly difficult or novel issues, nor was the skill
required to defend it beyond that which is usual for competent
and experienced lawyers. Nor were there extraordinary time
limitations or pressures on the attorneys. However, in the
court's experience, the rates requested are reasonably within
the mid-range of rates charged in this legal market for this
species of civil litigation.
 Trahan and Blanchard may recover, therefore, at the
following rates: Woodford: $150.00; McDonald $175.00; and
 The unadjusted lodestar consists, as stated, of the
product of the attorney's compensable hours multiplied by
the prevailing market fee. The lodestars for counsel in this
case are therefore:
HOURS RATE TOTAL
Woodford 15.04 x
$150.00 = $2,256.00
McDonald 2.88 x 175.00 = 504.00
Holzwanger 4.17 x 35.00 = 145.95
The case does not warrant adjusting these lodestars upwards or downwards.
 The defendants seek $75.97 in expenses incurred in
connection with this litigation. With the exception of routine
overhead office expenses normally absorbed by the practicing
attorney, all reasonable expenses incurred in case preparation,
during the course of litigation, or as an aspect of settlement
of the case, may be taxed as costs. See NAACP v. City of
Evergreen, 812 F.2d 1332, 1337 (11th Cir. 1987). Taylor has
not specifically objected to any of the items claimed as
expenses by Trahan and Blanchard. After independently assessing
the expenses, the court finds then generally reasonable with
one exception. As stated, there were no extraordinary time
limitations on the attorneys in this lawsuit. Consequently,
the $10.30 incurred for express delivery is unwarranted.
Trahan and Blanchard may therefore recover a total of $65.67
for their expenses.
IV. ABILITY TO PAY
 In cases involving violations of Rule 11, "deterrence
remains the touchstone" of the court's imposition of
sanctions. Baker v. Alderman, 158 F.3d 516, 528 (11th Cir.
1998). Accordingly, the court may consider the ability to
pay in assessing sanctions. See id. at 529. In this case,
however, Taylor has not raised inability to pay as a defense
to the instant notion for sanctions.
 For the foregoing reasons, the court will impose sanctions
 Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
(1) The motion for sanctions, filed by defendants Candice
Trahan and Tina Blanchard on July 7, 2000, is granted.
(2) The amount of 2,971.62 is taxed against plaintiff Robert
H. Taylor as a sanction for violating Rule 11 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure.
(3) Defendants Trahan and Blanchard shall have and recover
$2,971.62 from plaintiff Taylor for their reasonable attorney's
fees and expenses.
 DONE, this the 22nd day of March, 2001.
Myron H. Thompson
United States District Judge
1 In Bonner v. Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206, 1209
(11th Cir. 1981) (en banc), the Eleventh Circuit Court of
Appeals adopted as binding precedent all of the decisions
of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the close
of business on September 30, 1981.
2 Taylor asserts that Trahan and Blanchard have
provided no evidence that they themselves paid the fees for
their defense. The bills were sent to the their employer,
Petroleum Helicopters, Inc. If Trahan and Blanchard have
reached an agreement with their employer for their legal
fees, this does not infringe on the court's discretion to
award fees. There is no reason why Trahan and Blanchard,
or anyone who chooses to indemnify them, should bear the
expense of defending this litigation. Moreover, Taylor sued
Trahan and Blanchard as employees of Petroleum Helicopters,
Inc., and, as a result, Petroleum Helicopters, Inc. is also
a real party in interest.
END OF FOOTNOTES
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