ROHLER v. ROLLS ROYCE CORPORATION
ENTRY on Motion to Stay - RRNA's Motion to Stay (Dkt. 27 ) is GRANTED. This action is STAYED for 45 days from the date of this Entry. Ms. Rohler is ORDERED to pay the Bill of Costs in Case No. 1:10-cv-00254-TWP-DKL within 45 days of the date of this Entry. If Ms. Rohler is unable to pay the Bill of Costs, she must instead file with the Court, within 45 days of the date of this Entry, a statement substantiating her financial inability supported by affidavit or exhibit. If Ms. Rohler fails to either pay or file a properly supported statement of financial inability, the Court will dismiss this action. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 12/27/2013. (TRG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
PAMELA SUE ROHLER,
ROLLS ROYCE NORTH AMERICA, INC.,
Case No. 1:13-cv-00040-TWP-DML
ENTRY ON MOTION TO STAY
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Rolls Royce North America, Inc.’s
(“RRNA”) Motion to Stay this lawsuit until Plaintiff Pamela S. Rohler (“Ms. Rohler”) pays the
costs that she owes to RRNA in association with an earlier related lawsuit in this Court. This
action was brought by Ms. Rohler originally against Rolls Royce Corporation (“RRC”), but was
amended to name RRNA as the proper party, for employment discrimination and retaliation. Ms.
Rohler previously filed suit on February 11, 2009 against both RRC and RRNA (collectively
“Rolls-Royce”), and that case was removed to this Court on March 2, 2010. See Case No. 1:10cv-00254-TWP-DKL. In the first action, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of RollsRoyce, and the ruling was upheld on appeal by the Seventh Circuit. Thereafter, Rolls-Royce
filed a Bill of Costs totaling $3,374.25, which was taxed by the Clerk against Ms. Rohler. To
date, Ms. Rohler has not paid the Bill of Costs. RRNA now seeks a stay of this current action
and an order requiring Ms. Rohler to pay the Bill of Costs or suffer dismissal. For the following
reasons, RRNA’s Motion to Stay (Dkt. 27) is GRANTED.
Federal courts have generally held that a court may enter an order staying further
proceedings until costs taxed in an earlier proceeding have been paid. See Hacopian v. U.S.
Dep’t of Labor, 709 F.2d 1295, 1297 (9th Cir. 1983); Holt v. Kormann, No. SACV 1101047DOC (MLGx), 2012 WL 5829864, at *3 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 15, 2012); Holden v. Ill. Tool
Works, Inc., No. H-08-2783, 2009 WL 2865820, at *2 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 31, 2009) (listing cases);
Hilgeford v. Peoples Bank, Portland, 110 F.R.D. 700, 702 (N.D. Ind. 1986); 9 Fed. Prac. & Proc.
Civ. § 2375 (3d ed.). The rule is an extension of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(d), which
states that if a plaintiff previously dismissed an action then files an action “based on or including
the same claim against the same defendant, the court: (1) may order the plaintiff to pay all or part
of the costs of that previous action; and (2) may stay the proceedings until the plaintiff has
complied.” Courts reason that the extension of Rule 41(d) to involuntary dismissals serves the
same goal of protecting defendants from the harassment of repeated lawsuits. Although the
Seventh Circuit has not directly addressed this issue, the Court is persuaded by the weight of
federal authority applying the rule espoused in Rule 41(d) to involuntary dismissals under the
court’s inherent power to order costs and dismiss actions.
In her Amended Answer to RRNA’s counterclaim for payment of the Bill of Costs, Ms.
Rohler admitted that she has refused to pay. In her response to the Motion to Stay, Ms. Rohler
states that she has failed to pay because “the litigation is ongoing” and she is “not in a position to
do so.” Dkt. 29 at 3. The thrust of her argument is that while she was aware a Bill of Costs had
been issued, she had never seen the actual Bill of Costs until she was deposed as part of the
current action. Furthermore, she argues that RRNA never demanded payment.
The Court finds Ms. Rohler’s reasoning unpersuasive. First, the taxation of the Bill of
Costs to Ms. Rohler in the first action was docketed to CM/ECF on May 14, 2012. A copy of
both the Bill of Costs and the entry taxing it to Ms. Rohler was served electronically to Ms.
Rohler’s counsel of record. The Court presumes that Ms. Rohler had access to the Bill of Costs
and RRNA was not required to demand payment to trigger Ms. Rohler’s responsibility to pay.
Second, the litigation in the first action is not ongoing. It was litigated on summary judgment,
appealed to the Seventh Circuit, and final judgment was entered against Ms. Rohler. That she
filed a second—separate—action has no bearing on the finality of the first action. Third, the Bill
of Costs in the sum of $3,374.00 is not an exorbitant amount and she has had over a year to pay
these costs. Although Ms. Rohler has stated she is not in a position to pay, she has not supported
this assertion or filed request for relief from the Bill of Costs. Therefore, the Court finds that
because this second action involves the same parties as and is based on the first action, it is
appropriate to stay this action and order Ms. Rohler to pay the costs taxed to her in the first
Accordingly, RRNA’s Motion to Stay (Dkt. 27) is GRANTED. This action is STAYED
for 45 days from the date of this Entry. Ms. Rohler is ORDERED to pay the Bill of Costs in
Case No. 1:10-cv-00254-TWP-DKL within 45 days of the date of this Entry. If Ms. Rohler is
unable to pay the Bill of Costs, she must instead file with the Court, within 45 days of the date
of this Entry, a statement substantiating her financial inability supported by affidavit or exhibit.
If Ms. Rohler fails to either pay or file a properly supported statement of financial inability, the
Court will dismiss this action.
Hon. Tanya Walton Pratt, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
R. Anthony Prather
BARNES & THORNBURG LLP
James F. Ehrenberg, Jr.
BARNES & THORNBURG LLP
David M. Henn
HENN LAW FIRM P.C.
Paul J. Cummings
HENN LAW FIRM PC
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