Government Employees Insurance Co. v. Dunst
Order on Motion for Attorney Fees
MINUTES OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ALASKA
Government Employees Ins. Co. v. Dunst
THE HONORABLE JOHN W. SEDWICK
ORDER FROM CHAMBERS
CASE NO. 3:04-cv-00272 JWS
May 12, 2006
At docket 25, the parties filed a joint status report in which they indicated they
had reached agreement on all issues save for two, attorney’s fees and costs, and
requested an additional thirty days to resolve those issues. Also, they notified the court
that if they did not resolve those issues after thirty days, they would file briefs on those
issues at that time. At docket 26, the court issued a minute order in which it accepted
the parties’ status report and directed the parties to proceed in accordance with it.
Subsequently, Gary Dunst filed a motion for attorney’s fees at docket 29 and a motion
for costs at docket 30.
After considering Alaska case law, the court concludes this case must be
resolved – through entry of a consent decree or judgment on the merits, for example –
before it may determine which party prevailed for purposes of awarding attorney’s fees
to that party. See Desalvo v. Bryant, 42 P.3d 525, 530 (Alaska 2002) (suggesting
attorney’s fees awarded after “formal judicial relief” or settlement); Sanders v. Barth, 12
P.3d 766, 770 (Alaska 2000) (settlement agreement’s terms examined when deciding
whether attorney’s fees may be awarded). Accordingly, the parties are directed to file
closing papers by Friday, May 26, 2006. If the parties do not file closing papers by
then, the motion for attorney’s fees at docket 29 will be denied without prejudice to refiling.
As for the motion for costs, it is DENIED without prejudice as not ripe. Dunst
may re-file it once this case has been resolved. Before re-filing it, his counsel should
consider whether the prevailing party standard under the federal rule allowing costs,
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1), is different than the prevailing party standard
under Alaska Civil Rule 82.
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