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Virginia Kurschinske v. Meadville Forging Company

January 19, 2011

VIRGINIA KURSCHINSKE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MEADVILLE FORGING COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McLAUGHLIN, Sean J., District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Presently pending before the Court are the following motions:

(1) Emergency Motion of Meadville Forging Company, L.P. to Strike Writ of Execution and Deem Judgments Satisfied [Doc. No. 74], filed by Meadville Forging Company, L.P. ("Meadville Forging");

(2) "Motion to Dismiss/Strike Meadville Forges (sic) Emergency to a Writ of Execution Plea for Failure to Pay Me What is Owed by Valid Judgment; Motion to Strike Attorney Susan Mahoods (sic) Written, Non Verbal Affadavit (sic) as Hostile Hearsay; Motion to Continue Writ of Execution to Collect My Outstanding Money Judgment Owed to Me by this Honorable Court of Jurisdiction; Motion to [Execute] a Writ of Sale Order Against Meadville Forge Company, L.P." [Doc. No. 78], filed by Virginia Kurschinske ("Kurschinske"); and

(3) "Motions to the Court" [Doc. No. 86], filed by Kurschinske requesting miscellaneous relief.*fn1 Oral argument was held on December 20, 2010 and the matter is fully briefed and ripe for disposition. The Court has jurisdiction to entertain Meadville Forging's Motion which, in essence, is a request for relief under Rule 60(b)(5) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as it is ancillary to the original lawsuit. See Smith v. Widman Trucking & Excavating, Inc., 627 F.2d 792, 799 (7th Cir. 1980).

I.FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On April 14, 2006, Kurschinske filed a Complaint in this Court against Meadville Forging alleging gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, § 2000c et seq. and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 P.S. § 951 et seq. Following a jury trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Kurschinske and awarded $25,000.00 in damages on January 28, 2008. [Doc. No. 52]. On that date a judgment was entered in favor of Kurschinske in that amount ("Judgment 1"). [Doc. No. 53]. Meadville Forging forwarded to Kurschinske a check for $25,000.00 which was cashed by her on June 27, 2008. See Def. Ex.

A. On February 7, 2008, Kurschinske, through her counsel, Susan Mahood ("Mahood"), filed a Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs expended in pursuit of her claim. [Doc. No. 54]. By Memorandum Opinion and Order dated September 30, 2008, this Court awarded attorney's fees and costs in favor of Kurschinske and against Meadville Forging in the amount of $46,763.21 ("Judgment 2"). [Doc. No. 63].

On December 2, 2008, Mahood filed a Petition for Equitable Charging Lien, requesting that this Court impose an equitable charging lien in her favor and order payment of Judgment 2 to her. [Doc. No. 65]. A telephonic argument on the Petition was held on January 6, 2009. Mahood contended that she was entitled to the full amount of Judgment 2, i.e., $46,763.21. Kurschinske, on the other hand, argued that Mahood was entitled to a lesser percentage of the fee based upon an alleged contractual agreement with Mahood. At the conclusion of the argument, I dismissed the Petition for lack of jurisdiction. See Tr. of Argument pp. 5-7 [Doc. No. 93].

On March 23, 2009, Mahood filed a lawsuit against Kurschinske and Meadville Forging in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, at No. GD 09-4046 (the "state court action"). In this lawsuit, Mahood sought payment of Judgment 2 in the amount of $46,763.21 for work performed by her and costs paid on behalf of Kurschinske in her federal gender discrimination case. Def. Ex.

B. On July 17, 2009, Mahood entered a default judgment against Meadville Forging in the amount of $46,763.21. On August 25, 2009, Meadville Forging forwarded a check in that amount payable to Mahood, and said check was cashed by Mahood on September 2, 2009. Def. Ex. E.

Kurschinske, through counsel, filed an Amended Answer, New Matter and Counterclaim in the state court action. In the Counterclaim, she alleged, inter alia, that she was entitled to $16,094.53 of the attorney's fee award based upon an alleged contract between herself and Mahood. Def. Ex. C. Following oral argument on Mahood's preliminary objections to Kurschinske's Counterclaim, the court granted the preliminary objections by Order dated October 9, 2009 and dismissed Kurschinske's Counterclaim with prejudice. Def. Ex. D. On June 29, 2010, Mahood discontinued the state court action.

On October 5, 2010, Kurschinske filed a Praecipe for Writ of Execution in this Court requesting a Writ of Execution be issued against Meadville Forging [Doc. No. 71], and a Writ of Execution was issued by the Deputy Clerk. On October 19, 2010 Meadville Forging filed an Emergency Motion to Strike the Writ of Execution and Deem Judgments Satisfied. [Doc. No. 74]. Thereafter, on December 6, 2010, Kurschinske caused a Writ of Garnishment to be served on PNC Bank directing PNC Bank to garnish all bank accounts for Meadville Forging. [Doc. No. 80]. In response, Meadville Forging filed an Emergency Motion to Stay Execution and Dissolve Garnishment. [Doc. No. 81]. I granted this Motion on December 9, 2010 and scheduled a hearing on the merits of Meadville Forging's Emergency Motion to Strike Writ of Execution and Deem Judgments Satisfied for December 20, 2010. [Doc. No. 83]. A hearing was held on that date and the matter is now ripe for disposition.

II.STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in relevant part:

On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: ... (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged ....

Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(5); see also Sunderland v. City of Philadelphia, 575 F.2d 1089, 1090 (3rd Cir. 1978). This provision provides a court with the discretion to declare a judgment satisfied "when damages are paid before trial or a tortfeasor or obligor has paid the judgment debt." AIG Sterling Heights, LLC v. American Multi-Cinema, Inc., 579 F.3d 1268, 1272 (11th Cir. 2009), cert. denied __ U.S. __ (2010) (quoting Gibbs v. Maxwell House, A Div. Of Gen. Foods Corp., 738 F.2d 1153, 1155 (11th Cir. 1984)). "Generally, Rule 60(b)(5) is invoked by a party seeking relief from a judgment that has been satisfied due to events or payments occurring after it was entered." U.S. v. Stonehill, 959 F.2d 243, 1992 WL 68261 at *1 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 862 (1992).

III.DISCUSSION

Judgment 1

Meadville Forging contends that Judgment 1 has been satisfied because it paid Kurschinske $25,000.00 on June 27, 2008. I agree. Consequently, the Clerk of Courts will be directed to mark that Judgment satisfied. However, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1961, "[i]nterest shall be allowed on any money judgment in a civil case recovered in a district court." 28 U.S.C. § 1961(a). "[T]he purpose of post-judgment interest is to compensate the successful plaintiff for being deprived of compensation for the loss from the time between the ascertainment of the damage and the payment by the defendant." Dunn v. Hovic, 13 F.3d 58, 61 (3rd Cir.), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1031 (1993) quoting Kaiser Aluminum & Chem. Corp. v. Bonjorno, 494 U.S. 827, 835 (1990); see also Nationalist Movement v. City of New York, 340 Fed. Appx. 91, 94 (3rd Cir. 2009). Post-judgment interest is awarded by statute as a matter of law so it is automatically added, "whether or not the district court orders it." Dunn, 13 F.3d at 62.

Meadville Forging will be ordered to calculate post-judgment interest pursuant to § 1961(a), from January 28, 2008 to June 26, 2008, and issue the Plaintiff a draft in the amount of that interest within ten (10) days from the date of this Court's Order.

Judgment 2

Meadville Forging argues that Judgment 2 has been satisfied due to its payment to Mahood of $46,763.21 in connection with the state court action. It further argues that Kurschinske is precluded from pressing her claim for a portion of the attorney's fee in this case by virtue of the adverse state court ruling of October 9, 2009. As a predicate to addressing Meadville Forging's contention, a brief review of the pleadings in the state court action is necessary. In her state court action, Mahood filed a four count Complaint, which included a ...


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