Yeager et al v. Bowlin et al

Filing 239

ORDER signed by Senior Judge William B. Shubb on 6/17/2015 DENYING 223 Defendants' Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs of Collection of Judgment. (Kirksey Smith, K)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 ----oo0oo---- 11 12 13 GENERAL CHARLES “CHUCK” YEAGER, (RET.), and GENERAL CHUCK YEAGER FOUNDATION, 16 17 ORDER Plaintiffs, 14 15 CIV. NO. 2:08-102 WBS CKD v. CONNIE BOWLIN, et al., Defendants. 18 ----oo0oo---- 19 20 On January 6, 2010, this court granted summary judgment 21 in favor of defendants Connie and Ed Bowlin, Aviation Autographs, 22 and Bowlin and Associates, Inc. 23 subsequently awarded defendants $275,595.58 in attorneys’ fees 24 and costs on June 3, 2010. 25 years later, defendants now request another award of attorneys’ 26 fees and costs incurred during the enforcement of the court’s 27 initial award. (Docket No. 135.) (Docket No. 169.) (Docket No. 223.) 28 1 The court More than five For the reasons stated below, 1 defendants’ motion is untimely and must be denied.1 2 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 69(a) governs the 3 procedure for enforcement of money judgments in federal court. 4 See Carnes v. Zamani, 488 F.3d 1057, 1059 (9th Cir. 2007). 5 rule provides that the procedure for enforcing a money judgment 6 “must accord with the procedure of the state where the court is 7 located, but a federal statute governs to the extent it applies.” 8 Fed. R. Civ. P. 69(a). 9 instant motion, the court turns to California procedural law. 10 The Because no federal statute governs the See Carnes, 488 F.3d at 1060. 11 California’s Enforcement of Judgments Law (“EJL”) 12 states that a “judgment creditor is entitled to the reasonable 13 and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment.” 14 Code § 685.040. 15 while enforcing a judgment if that underlying judgment included 16 an award of attorneys’ fees. 17 Cal. Civ. Proc. These costs may include attorneys’ fees incurred See id. §§ 1033.5(a)(10); 685.040. The judgment creditor may seek an award of postjudgment 18 attorneys’ fees by either filing a memorandum of costs or by 19 serving a noticed motion. 20 either method, however, the judgement creditor must request 21 postjudgment attorneys’ fees before the underlying judgment is 22 fully satisfied. 23 fully satisfied but not later than two years after the costs have 24 been incurred . . . .”), 685.080(a) (“The motion shall be made 25 before the judgment is satisfied in full, but not later than two 26 years after the costs have been incurred.”); see also Carnes, 488 27 28 1 See id. §§ 685.070, 685.080. Under Id. §§ 685.070(b) (“Before the judgment is This motion was determined to be suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). 2 1 F.3d at 1060. 2 The court understands defendants’ motion to request 3 fees and costs associated solely with the enforcement of the June 4 3, 2010 judgment awarding attorneys’ fees and costs. 5 Mem. at 3.) 6 in full.” 7 balance of the underlying judgment . . . .”).) 8 9 (See Defs.’ Defendants state that judgment “has been collected (Id.; see also id. at 2 (“Yeager did pay Bowlins the In its June 2, 2015 Order, the court stated its concern regarding defendants’ representations that the award was already 10 collected in full. 11 and quoted from--California Code of Civil Procedure sections 12 685.070(b) and 685.080(a) as well as and Ninth Circuit precedent 13 interpreting those statutes and invited both parties to submit 14 supplemental briefs addressing the issue of timeliness. 15 (Docket No. 230.) The court also cited to-- Defendants submitted a supplemental brief one day later 16 that utterly missed the mark. 17 completely ignored the court’s attempt to highlight problematic 18 statutory language and failed to even mention sections 685.070 or 19 685.080. 20 why Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) does not apply to their 21 motion--a rule the court never mentioned in its June 2, 2015 22 Order. 23 (Docket No. 231.) Defendants Instead, they provided an unnecessary explanation of Even more astonishingly, defendants justified their 24 discussion of Rule 54(d) by saying they had “no indication that 25 there is any other possible basis for the Court’s request for 26 supplemental briefing.” 27 plaintiff, who unlike defendants is not represented by counsel, 28 grasped the court’s meaning and submitted a brief that addressed (Defs’ Supplemental Brief at 1-2.) 3 Yet, 1 sections 685.070(b) and 685.080(a). 2 Plaintiff also stated that the court’s judgment was fully 3 satisfied by March 3, 2014. 4 undisputed that the court’s June 3, 2010 judgement had been paid 5 in full before defendants filed their motion. (See Docket No. 237.) (Id. at 2.) Accordingly, it is 6 Defendants say in passing that the Ninth Circuit’s 7 additional award of $102,929.12 in attorneys’ fees and costs 8 incurred while this matter was on appeal remains unpaid. 9 Mem. at 3.) (Defs.’ The Ninth Circuit’s award does not affect the 10 timeliness of the instant motion, however, because costs and fees 11 awarded by an appellate court “are not added to the trial court 12 judgment, but constitute a separate judgment.”2 13 Properties Inv., Inc. v. Lee, 185 Cal. App. 4th 125, 138 (1st 14 Dist. 2010) (citing Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist. v. Wilshire 15 Ctr. Marketplace, 89 Cal. App. 4th 1413, 1419 (1st Dist. 2001)); 16 see Cal. Rules of Court 8.278(b)(1), (c)(3). 17 not request expenses associated with enforcement of the Ninth 18 Circuit’s award, and this Order expresses no views on the 19 availability of those expenses at this time. 20 “judgment” for purposes of this Order is the court’s June 3, 2010 21 award. 22 23 Lucky United This motion does The relevant In short, the EJL required defendants to file their motion before the award from this court was fully satisfied. See 24 2 25 26 27 28 This conclusion is further supported by the California Supreme Court’s interpretation of fee awards under California law, which draws a distinction between (1) “prejudgment costs, including attorney fees,” (2) “appellate costs and fees,” and (3) “postjudgment enforcement costs and fees.” In re Conservatorship of McQueen, 59 Cal. 4th 602, 608 (2014) (distinguishing the separate statutory basis for each award). 4 1 Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§ 685.070, 685.080. 2 collected in full, and the motion is therefore untimely. 3 Carnes, 488 F.3d at 1061 (affirming the denial of a similar 4 motion as untimely). 5 That award has been See IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that defendants’ motion for 6 attorneys’ fees and costs of collection of judgment be, and the 7 same hereby is, DENIED. 8 Dated: June 17, 2015 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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