Newlin v. GoJet Airlines, LLC
OPINION, MEMORANDUM, AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant GoJet Airlines LLC's Motion for Attorneys' Fees [ECF No. 54 ] is DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant GoJetAirlines LLC's Motion for Bill of Costs [ECF No. 53 ] is GRANTED. Signed by District Judge Henry E. Autrey on 8/3/12. (TRC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
GOJET AIRLINES, LLC.,
No. 4:10CV01458 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Defendant GoJet Airlines’ (“Defendant” or
“GoJet”) Motion for Attorney Fees [ECF No. 54]. Plaintiff Christine Newlin (“Plaintiff”)
did not respond to the Motion. Defendant also filed a Motion for Bill of Costs [ECF No.
53], to which Plaintiff also did not respond.
Plaintiff Newlin began working for GoJet, a commercial airline, on or about
September 9, 2005 as a flight attendant based in St. Louis, Missouri. On February 10,
2010, Plaintiff was terminated by Defendant GoJet. On August 9, 2010, Plaintiff initiated
this lawsuit. Plaintiff’s Complaint alleged that Defendant’s harassment and ultimate
discharge of Newlin violated 45 U.S.C. § 152, Third and Fourth, of the Railway Labor
Act (RLA).1 On December 21. 2011, the Court granted Defendant’s Motion for Summary
Judgment [ECF No. 51] and judgment was entered in Defendant’s favor [ECF No. 52].
On February 24, 2011, The Honorable Judge Donald Stohr dismissed Count II (“Breach of
Employment Contract”) of Plaintiff Newlin’s complaint, thus leaving Count I as the only viable claim.
Defendant’s Motion for Attorney Fees
The well-settled “American rule” on payment of attorneys’ fees in federal
litigation is that, in the absence of a statue or an enforceable contract, each party is
responsible for his or her own fees. Actors’ Equity Ass’n v. American Dinner Theater
Institute, 802 F.2d 1038, 1041 (8th Cir.1986). But limited exceptions to the rule exist,
including an exception authorizing a federal court to award attorneys’ fees to the
prevailing party when the losing party has acted in bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly, or
for oppressive reasons. Id.
Defendant contends that Plaintiff litigated this action in bad faith. In Actor’s
Equity Ass’n. The Eighth Circuit held that bad faith can be shown where the movant
intentionally advanced a frivolous contention for an ulterior purpose, such as harassment
or delay. Id. at 1043. Defendant has failed to offer any evidence that would actuate any of
the limited exceptions to the “American rule.” While it asserts different reasons why
Plaintiff’s claim failed, it fails to produce any factual evidence that supports the
contention that Plaintiff acted with an ulterior purpose. See Id. As such, the “American
rule” is applicable here and both parties are responsible for their own attorneys’ fees.
Defendant’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees is denied.
Defendant’s Motion for Bill of Costs
Defendant prevailed in this suit by receiving a judgment in its favor. The
presumption under Rule 54 (d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is that the
prevailing party is entitled to costs. Bathke v. Casey’s General Stores, Inc., 64 F.3d 340,
347 (8th Cir. 1995). However, Rule 54(d) gives the district court discretion in
determining whether to tax costs at all and whether to reduce the amount of costs taxed
due to a litigant’s indigency. See Lampkins v. Thompson, 337 F.3d 1009, 1017 (8th Cir.
Defendant has incurred $2,379 in costs. Plaintiff does not dispute this figure. As
such, as the prevailing party, Defendant is entitled to the $2,379 in costs and its Motion
for Bill of Costs is granted.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant GoJet Airlines LLC’s Motion for
Attorneys’ Fees [ECF No. 54] is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant GoJetAirlines LLC’s Motion for
Bill of Costs [ECF No. 53] is GRANTED.
Dated this 3rd day of August, 2012.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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