Small Hearts Daycare II, LLC et al v. Quick
OPINION MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Reconsideration, [Doc. No.191], is denied. 191 Signed by District Judge Henry Edward Autrey on 11/18/14. (CLA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
SMALL HEARTS DAYCARE
CENTER II, LLC and WALTER
Case No. 4:09CV2132 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Reconsideration,
[Doc. No. 191]. Defendant opposes the Motion. For the reasons set forth below,
the Motion is denied.
On January 16, 2014, this Court granted Defendant’s Motion for Summary
Judgment. Judgement was entered in favor of Defendant and against Plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Attorney’s Fees was likewise denied by this Court’s
Opinion, Memorandum and Order entered on May 8, 2014. In this Opinion, the
Court detailed its reasoning for denying Plaintiffs’ Motion for Attorney’s fees.
The Court has previously addressed Plaintiffs’ request for fees:
The initial question regarding the propriety of awarding
attorney’s fees in a case such as this is whether Plaintiffs can be
considered the “prevailing party.” Casey v. City of Cabool, Mo., 12
F.3d 799, 804 (8th Cir. 1993). “The touchstone of the prevailing party
inquiry,” the Supreme Court has recently affirmed, is “the material
alteration of the legal relationship of the parties....” Sole v. Wyner,
551 U .S. 74, 82 (2007) (quoting Texas State Teachers Ass'n v.
Garland Independent School Dist., 489 U.S. 782, 792-93 (1989)).
Plaintiffs contend that they should be deemed a prevailing party in
light of the February 1,2010 TRO [ECF No. 24]. Generally, a plaintiff
“who gains a preliminary injunction does not qualify for an award of
counsel fees under § 1988(b) if the merits of the case are ultimately
decided against her.” Sole, 551 U.S. at 86 (2007). The Eighth Circuit
explored this issue further in Northern Cheyenne Tribe v. Jackson,
433 F.3d 1083, 1086 (8th Cir.2006) and held that the grant of a mere
preliminary injunction can confer prevailing party such as where “it
alters the course of a pending administrative proceeding and the
party’s claim a for [sic] permanent injunction is rendered moot by the
impact of the preliminary injunction.” Id. at 1086.
The merits of this case have been decided against Plaintiffs.
They are not prevailing parties under the statute. They are not,
therefore, entitled to attorney’s fees.
Plaintiffs’ new Motion for Reconsideration argues, some five plus months
after the judgment, that the Court erred in granting summary judgment for
Defendant. To the contrary, the Court’s ruling was guided by the Eighth Circuit
Court of Appeals’ decision in Austell v. Springer, 690 F.3d 929 (8th Cir. 2012).
Plaintiffs argument otherwise is without merit. Plaintiffs did not seek
reconsideration at the time of the judgment, nor did they appeal entry of judgment
As to Plaintiff’s request for reconsideration of the denial of an award of
attorney’s fees, the Court is unpersuaded that they are entitled to attorney’s fees
even though judgment was entered in favor of Defendant under a qualified
immunity theory. Plaintiffs did not prevail on the merits, and are therefore not
entitled to an award of attorney’s fees
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ Motion for Reconsideration,
[Doc. No.191], is denied.
Dated this 18th day of November, 2014.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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