Chef'n Corporation v. Progressive International Corporation

Filing 66

ORDER granting Progressive's 53 Motion to enter judgment pursuant to Rule 68 ; granting pending motions to seal 54 59 62 signed by Judge Richard A Jones.(RS)

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1 HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 8 9 10 CHEF'N CORPORATION, 11 Plaintiff, 12 14 ORDER v. 13 CASE NO. C14-68 RAJ PROGRESSIVE INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, 15 Defendant. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Progressive International Corporation’s (“Progressive”) motion to enter judgment under Rule 68. Dkt. # 53, 55. Plaintiff Chef’n Corporation (“Chef’n”) opposes the motion. Dkt. # 58, 60. For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Progressive’s motion. Once parties have met their obligations under Rule 68, the “clerk must then enter judgment.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(a). The clerk’s role is ministerial in nature; the Rule does not afford the clerk any discretion in entering—or not—a judgment pursuant to Rule 68. Id. (explicitly stating that the clerk “must” enter judgment); see also Nusom v. Comh Woodburn, Inc., 122 F.3d 830, 834 (9th Cir. 1997) (“The offer, once made, is nonnegotiable; it is either accepted, in which case it is automatically entered by the clerk of ORDER- 1 1 court, or rejected, in which case it stands as the marker by which the plaintiff's results are 2 ultimately measured.”); Simon v. Intercontinental Transp. (ICT) B.V., 882 F.2d 1435, 3 1439 (9th Cir. 1989) (finding that “the mandatory cast of [Rule 68] ‘leaves no room for 4 district court discretion.’”) (quoting Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. E.E.O.C., 691 F.2d 438, 442 5 (9th Cir. 1982)); Mallory v. Eyrich, 922 F.2d 1273, 1279 (6th Cir. 1991) (finding that 6 “Rule 68 judgments are self-executing.”); Thweatt v. Koglmeier, Dobbins & Smith, 2006 7 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57657, *6 (D. Ariz. Aug. 15, 2006) (“Outside of a very few exceptions 8 not relevant here to this action, a Rule 68 offer of judgment is self-executing once its 9 acceptance is filed with the Court and neither the Court nor any court official has any 10 discretion to do anything regarding that acceptance other than to enter judgment.”). 11 On August 29, 2014, the parties filed a notice of acceptance of offer of judgment. 12 Dkt. # 26. The notice included the terms of the offer, Progessive’s acceptance through an 13 email by its attorney, and a certificate of service. Id. The clerk was therefore required to 14 enter the judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(a). The clerk never entered the judgment; this 15 was an error. The Court may correct such clerical errors under Rule 60(a). Fed. R. Civ. 16 P. 60(a); see also Garamendi v. Henin, 683 F.3d 1069, 1077 (9th Cir. 2012) (finding that 17 “a court’s failure to memorialize part of its decision is a clerical error. Power to correct 18 clerical errors of omission derives from Rule 60[.]”) (quoting Miller v. Transamerican 19 Press, Inc., 709 F.2d 524, 527 (9th Cir. 1993)); Oates v. Oates, 866 F.2d 203, 208 (6th 20 Cir. 1989) (“Because the court clerk failed to perform the ministerial act of entering 21 judgment, the court should have entered judgment nunc pro tunc.”). As such, the Court 22 instructs the clerk to retroactively enter the parties’ judgment pursuant to Rule 68, at 23 docket number 26. 1 24 25 26 27 1 This action is ministerial and not discretionary. This order is therefore narrow in scope and merely cures an omission. ORDER- 2 1 Chef’n’s arguments that the Court lacks jurisdiction over the pending motion or 2 that the parties released their obligations under the Rule 68 judgment are unavailing. 3 First, the Court may correct clerical errors under Rule 60(a); Chef’n fails to cite authority 4 showing that the Court is divested of jurisdiction for the narrow purpose of curing a 5 clerical error. 6 As to Chef’n’s second argument, the Court applies the usual rules of contract 7 construction to Rule 68 offers of judgment. Nusom, 122 F.3d at 833. The Court 8 reviewed the parties’ offer and acceptance and finds no ambiguities. Dkt. # 26. It 9 appears that Chef’n clearly extended an offer of judgment pursuant to Rule 68, which 10 Progressive unambiguously accepted. Id. The only obstacle to the parties was a clerical 11 error on the part of the clerk, not a disagreement in intent or understanding of the terms of 12 the judgment. Chef’n does not present adequate evidence to show that it unambiguously 13 rescinded its offer to Progressive, nor that Progressive revoked its acceptance of Chef’n’s 14 offer. 15 For these reasons, the Court GRANTS Progressive’s motion to enter judgment 16 pursuant to Rule 68. Dkt. # 53. The Court directs the clerk to enter judgment in 17 accordance with Progressive’s accepted offer of judgment, at docket number 26, effective 18 as of August 29, 2014. The Court further GRANTS the pending motions to seal several 19 documents. Dkt. ## 54, 59, 62. 20 21 Dated this 11th day of July, 2017. 22 A 23 24 The Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge 25 26 27 ORDER- 3

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