United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
C. Carlson United States Magistrate Judge
pending in this case is Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation's
motion to release the supersedeas bond that had been ordered
in this case following the jury's verdict in favor of the
plaintiffs and Cabot's motion to stay execution. Cabot
argues that the bond should be released because the Court has
ruled on the post-trial motions that were pending in
Cabot's favor, thereby vacating the judgment that the
supersedeas bond had been securing. The Court agrees that
with the judgment for the plaintiffs having been vacated,
there is neither need nor legal justification for the
supersedeas bond. Accordingly, the motion will be granted.
a nearly three-week trial in this action, on March 10, 2016,
the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs and awarded
more than $4 million in damages. (Doc. 745.) The Court
entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs the same day.
(Doc. 748.) On April 7, 2016, Cabot filed a post-trial motion
pursuant to Rules 50 and 59 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure seeking judgment as a matter of law in its favor, a
new trial, or remittitur of the jury's award. (Doc. 756.)
Cabot also filed a motion for a stay of execution on the
judgment and filed a supersedeas bond on May 4, 2016. (Doc.
778.) The Court entered an order granting this relief on May
6, 2016. (Docs. 779, 780.)
March 31, 2017, the Court entered an order vacating the
jury's verdict and granted Cabot a new trial. (Docs. 779,
780.) The Court further ordered that the parties engage in
settlement proceedings prior rescheduling the case for a new
trial. (Doc. 801.)
April 5, 2017, Cabot sought the plaintiffs' concurrence
in releasing the supersedeas bond and discharging the surety,
but the plaintiffs refused to concur in this request,
asserting that the bond should remain in place while the
plaintiffs took an appeal of the Court's ruling on the
post-trial motion. Cabot then filed the instant motion to
release the supersedeas bond. (Doc. 803.) The plaintiffs have
filed a brief in opposition to the motion, to which Cabot has
replied. (Docs. 807, 808.)
to Rule 62(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
judgment debtor may post a supersedeas bond to secure a stay
of judgment pending resolution of post-trial motions filed
pursuant to Rules 50 and 59. Fed.R.Civ.P. 62(b). The purpose
behind the rule is to preserve the status quo, while at the
same time protecting the prevailing party's rights
pending the outcome of post-trial motions or appeal.
Arlington Indus., Inc. v. Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.,
No. 01-485, 2010 WL 1329050, at *1 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 29, 2010);
AMG Nat'l Trust Bank v. Ries, Civ. A. No.
06-CV-4337, 2008 WL 2312351, at *1 (E.D. Pa. June 4, 2008
(“the purpose of the supersedeas bond is to preserve
the status quo during the pendency of an appeal and to
protect the winning party from the possibility of loss
resulting from the delay in execution.”).
a supersedeas bond is intended to protect the prevailing
party's interest during the pendency of post-trial
motions, it follows that courts should release the bond when
the outstanding judgment that the bond was intended to
protect no longer remains. Indeed, numerous courts have so
held. See, e.g., Westerngeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical
Corp., No. 4:09-CV-1827, 2016, WL 234347, at *6 (S.D.
Tex. May 4, 2016); In re Apollo Grp., Inc. Securities
Litig., CV-04-2147, 2009 WL 2169178 (D. Ariz. July 17,
2009) (releasing supersedeas bond after the court vacated its
prior judgment on post-trial motions); Am Fed. Grp., Ltd
v. Rothenberg, No. 91Civ.7860, 1998 WL 273034, at *5
(S.D.N.Y. 1998) (“[T]he bond that was posted was
intended to secure a judgment, pending appeal, that has now
been vacated. There presently is no judgment of liability
against Rothenberg. Accordingly, there is no basis to require
that the Bond be maintained.”); Revlon, Inc. v.
Carson Prods. Co., 647 F.Supp. 905, 906 (S.D.N.Y. 1986)
(ordering the release of a supersedeas bond that had been
posted by a judgment creditor following a ruling in the
judgment debtor's favor on appeal, and finding that the
court lacked “power to maintain the bond simply because
the appellate decision may be reversed.”).
case, the judgment in favor of the plaintiffs has been
vacated, and there is no judgment that may be secured. The
plaintiffs argue that it would be premature to release the
bond because they have noted their intention to appeal this
Court's ruling on the post-trial motions, but the Court
disagrees that this provides a justification for ordering
that the bond be maintained. As Cabot correctly observes,
orders granting new trials - such as the order that this
Court entered - are not appealable prior to entry of a final
judgment in the litigation. See Allied Chem. Corp. v.
Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 34 (1980) (“An order
granting a new trial is interlocutory in nature and therefore
no immediately appealable.”); Bethel v. McAllister
Bros., 81 F.3d 376, 382 (3d Cir. 1992) (“an order
granting a new trial under Rule 59 is interlocutory and
non-appealable.”). Since the plaintiffs are not
entitled to appeal this Court's order vacating the
judgment and ordering a new trial, and because there is no
judgment in this action that may be secured, it is
appropriate at this time to release the bond.
for the foregoing reasons, Cabot's motion to release the
supersedeas bond is GRANTED.
FURTHER ORDERED THAT the supersedeas bond filed on behalf of
Cabot in the amount of $4, 296, 153, a copy of which was
filed with the Court on May 4, 2016 (Doc. 778.) and approved
by the Court on May 6, ...