Sara Lee Corporation v. Sycamore Family Bakery et al
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER granting 181 Motion to Enforce or Clarify Prior Contempt Sanctions Order: The contempt sanctions and attorney fees, totaling $41,102.00, are due and owing immediately. Signed by Judge Dale A. Kimball on 8/25/11 (alt)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
SARA LEE CORPORATION,
SYCAMORE FAMILY BAKERY INC.,
and LELAND SYCAMORE,
Case No. 2:09CV523DAK
Judge Dale A. Kimball
On August 19, 2011, Plaintiff Sara Lee Corporation filed a Motion to Enforce or Clarify
Prior Contempt Sanctions Order and Request for Expedited Briefing. The court granted the
request for expedited briefing, and the briefing on the motion is complete. Sara Lee asks this
court to clarify or enforce this court’s previous orders, issued May 12, 2011, and July 22, 2011.
In these orders, the court found Defendants in contempt of the court’s Permanent Injunction
Order and awarded Sara Lee $20,272.00 in contempt sanctions and $20,830.00 in attorneys’ fees
in connection with bringing the motion for contempt sanctions. The court’s previous orders,
however, did not indicate that the awards were due and owing immediately. Because Defendants
have failed to pay the contempt sanctions and attorneys’ fee award, Sara Lee asks the court to
clarify that the sanctions and attorneys’ fees awards are due and owing immediately.
Defendants’ opposition to Sara Lee’s motion does not dispute that the sanctions and
attorneys’ fees were due and owing when awarded. Defendants merely argue that they do not
have the funds to satisfy the awards. A party’s ability to pay an award, however, is not relevant
to a determination of whether the award is due and owing. Therefore, the court clarifies its prior
orders and specifically states that the sanctions award and attorneys’ fees have been due and
owing since the time that they were granted by this court and continue to be due and owing
immediately. Accordingly, Sara Lee’s motion is granted.
The issue of contempt sanctions for violation of the preliminary injunction is a matter
separate and distinct from the claims and counterclaims proceeding to trial. In a case involving
multiple claims and counterclaims, Rule 54(b) allows a court to “direct the entry of a final
judgment as to one or more but fewer than all claims or parties only upon an express
determination that there is no just reason for delay and upon an express direction for the entry of
judgment.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). Accordingly, an analysis of whether Rule 54(b) certification is
appropriate requires the court: (1) to determine that the order to be certified is a final judgment;
and (2) to find there is no just reason to delay appellate review of the order until the conclusion
of the entire case. See Oklahoma Turnpike Auth. v. Bruner, 259 F.3d 1236, 1242 (10th Cir.
2001); McKibben v. Chubb, 840 F.2d 1525, 1528 (10th Cir. 1988).
In making these determinations, the district court should act as a “dispatcher” weighing
Rule 54(b)’s policy of preventing piecemeal appeals against the inequities that could result from
delaying an appeal. Stockman’s Water Co., LLC v. Vaca Partners, L.P., 425 F.3d 1263, 1265
(10th Cir. 2005). The court should consider “whether the claims under review [are] separable
from the others remaining to be adjudicated and whether the nature of the claims already
determined [are] such that no appellate court would have to decide the same issues more than
once even if there were subsequent appeals.” Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. General Elec. Co., 446
U.S. 1, 8 (1980). The separability requirement must be satisfied in order for the judgment to be
considered “final.” Old Republic Ins. Co. v. Durango Air Serv., Inc., 283 F.3d 1222, 1225 (10th
Cir. 2002); see also Oklahoma Turnpike Auth., 259 F.3d at 1243.
In this case, the court’s two prior rulings on the contempt sanctions and attorneys’ fees
coupled with this ruling clarifying that the awards are due and owing immediately constitute a
final order on the issue. Sara Lee’s claim for a permanent injunction is also finally resolved.
Defendants’ only objection to the entry of a permanent injunction was the fact that it was not
necessary because they had changed the name of their bread products. The court determined that
despite Defendants’ name change, a permanent injunction was appropriate. Defendants’
subsequent conduct that resulted in a finding of contempt of the permanent injunction is separate
and distinct from the damages issues proceeding to trial on the trademark infringement and unfair
competition claims. The contemptuous conduct occurred within a defined period of time after
the entry of the permanent injunction was entered and all issues relating to the finding of
contempt are separate and distinct from the issues relating to the remaining claims in the case.
The appellate court, therefore, would not have to decide the same issues more than once if there
were subsequent appeals. Accordingly, the court finds that there is no just reason for delay in the
entry of a judgment for the award of contempt sanctions and attorneys’ fees.
Based on the above reasoning, Plaintiff Sara Lee Corporation’s Motion to Enforce or
Clarify Prior Contempt Sanctions Order is GRANTED. The contempt sanctions and attorneys’
fees, totaling $41,102.00, are due and owing immediately.
Furthermore, pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court
finds that: (1) the court’s May 12, 2011 ruling awarding Sara Lee contempt sanctions in the
amount of $ 20,272.00, the court’s July 22, 2011 order awarding Sara Lee attorneys’ fees in the
amount of $20,830.00, and this ruling clarifying that the awards are due and owing immediately
constitute a final order with respect to Defendants’ contemptuous conduct in violation of the
court’s permanent injunction; and (2) because the contempt proceedings are separate and distinct
from the remaining claims and counterclaims proceeding to trial, there is no just reason for delay
in the entry of a judgment for the award of contempt sanctions and attorneys’ fees. Accordingly,
the court directs the Clerk of Court to enter Judgment in favor of Sara Lee and against
Defendants in the amount of $41,102.00.
DATED this 25th day of August, 2011.
BY THE COURT:
DALE A. KIMBALL
United States District Judge
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