Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Carver Benson, et al. v. Giant Food Stores

February 28, 2011

CARVER BENSON, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GIANT FOOD STORES, LLC, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sitarski, M.J.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion For Reconsideration of the December 10, 2010 Order Denying Defendants' Motion For Attorney Fees and Expenses ("Motion for Reconsideration"). (Doc. No. 108).

I. BACKGROUND

On July 9, 2009, Plaintiffs brought this civil action against three defendants: Giant Food Stores, LLC, Ahold USA, and Giant Food, LLC. (Doc. No. 1). On August 13, 2010, counsel stipulated to the dismissal with prejudice of two of the defendants (Ahold USA and Giant Food, LLC) (Doc. No. 68), and the matter proceeded to trial against the remaining defendant, Giant Food Stores, LLC ("Giant"). Following a three-day trial, a jury found that Giant's negligence was the "factual cause" of Mr. Benson's injury; however, the jury, awarded $0.00 in damages. (Doc. No. 80). On August 18, 2010, this Court entered judgment, and the matter was marked closed. (Doc. Nos. 81, 82). Plaintiffs filed a Motion for New Trial on September 3, 2010, which Giant opposed. (Doc. Nos. 87, 90). On September 29, 2010, this Court entered an order denying Plaintiffs' Motion for New Trial. (Doc. No. 92).

Thereafter, on October 13, 2010, Giant filed a Motion for Attorney Fees and Expenses ("Motion for Fees").*fn1 (Doc. No. 93). Giant requested $65,435.00 in fees and $5,905.80 in expenses incurred beginning with receipt of the Complaint through and including trial and post-trial motions. (Doc. No. 93, at Ex. Q). Giant's Motion for Fees, which referenced Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(2), 28 U.S.C.A. Section 1927, and Local Rule of Civil Procedure 83.6.1, asserted that the motion had been timely filed "within 14 days of [the Court's] September 29, 2010 Order denying Plaintiffs' Motion For a New Trial . . . ." (Doc. No. 93, ¶¶ 3, 4). Plaintiffs filed an Answer in Opposition, and Giant filed a Reply. (Doc. Nos. 94, 100).

On December 10, 2010, the Court denied Giant's Motion for Fees, concluding that the motion was not timely filed.*fn2 (Doc. No. 106). Within one week, on December 17, 2010, Giant filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration, to which Plaintiffs declined to submit a response. (Doc. No. 108). On January 7, 2011, before the Court had an opportunity to rule on the Motion for Reconsideration, Giant filed a Notice of Appeal from the Order of December 10, 2010. (Doc. No. 110). Thereafter, the Court ordered the parties to address whether the Court retained jurisdiction to decide the pending Motion for Reconsideration, given the filing of Giant's Notice of Appeal. (Doc. No. 113). The parties filed briefs and appeared for oral argument. (Doc. Nos. 114, 115, 116, 118).

In addressing the effect of its notice of appeal, Giant initially suggested that the Court make an indicative ruling pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.1.*fn3 (Doc. No. 114). Thereafter, Giant filed a supplemental brief arguing that "Appellate Rule of Civil Procedure 4(a)(4)(B) allows [the district court] to maintain jurisdiction until disposition of the last remaining motion which would encompass Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration." (Doc. No. 118, p. 3). In short, Giant asks the Court to exercise its jurisdiction to grant the Motion for Reconsideration, or, alternatively, to issue an indicative ruling if the Court determines that it does not have jurisdiction to decide the motion.

As discussed below, I do not find that it is necessary to issue an indicative ruling in this case. As stated in the 2009 Adoption of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.1 and Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 12.1, "Appellate Rule 4(a)(4) lists six motions that, if filed within the relevant time limit, suspend the effect of a notice of appeal filed before or after the motion is filed until the last such motion is disposed of. [In such cases,] the district court has the authority to grant the motion without resorting to the indicative ruling procedure."

Here, the Court retains jurisdiction to dispose of the Giant's Motion for Reconsideration, because the motion was timely filed less than 28 days after entry of the Court's order dated December 10, 2010. See Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 59(e); Fed.R.App.Pro. 4(a)(4)(A)(v).

II. DISCUSSION

A. District Court Jurisdiction

The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure allow a party to appeal a district court's decision by filing a notice of appeal with the clerk of the district court. Fed.R.App.Pro. 3(a). Generally, "[t]he filing of a notice of appeal is an event of jurisdictional significance - it confers jurisdiction on the court of appeals and divests the district court of its control over those aspects of the case involved in the appeal." Griggs v. Provident Consumer Discount Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982). However, "[i]f a party files a notice of appeal after the [district] court announces or enters judgment - but before it disposes of any motion listed in Rule 4(a)(4)(A) - the notice of appeal becomes effective to appeal a judgment or order . . . when the order disposing of the last such remaining motion is entered." Fed.R.App.Pro. 4(a)(4)(B)(i); Carrascosa v. McGuire, 520 F.3d 249, 253 (3d Cir.2008) ("a notice of appeal filed before the disposition of one of the motions specified in Rule 4(a)(4)(A), including a motion for reconsideration, will become effective upon entry of the order disposing of the motion"); see also Young v. Local 1201, Fireman & Oilers Union, No. 07-3576, 2010 WL 1006411 at *1 (E.D.Pa. March 16, 2010). Thus, pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(4), the district court retains jurisdiction to decide certain timely post-judgment motions. Of particular relevance, the district court may enter an order disposing of a motion "to alter or amend the judgment under Rule 59," or "for relief under Rule 60 of the motion is filed no later than 28 days after the judgment is entered." Fed.R.App.Pro. 4(a)(4)(A)(v)-(vi).

Here, Giant filed a motion titled only "Motion for Reconsideration of the December 10, 2010 Order Denying Defendants' Motion For Attorney Fees and Expenses." (Doc. No. 108).

Giant's motion was filed within one week of the order dated December 10, 2010. The motion did not specifically request relief pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59 or 60, but as discussed below, the Motion for Reconsideration addressed a mistake of law. Giant's supplemental brief argued that its Motion for Reconsideration sought relief pursuant to Rule 60(b). (Doc. No. 118). At ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.