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Gaedeke Holdings VII, Ltd. v. Landon Speed

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

March 9, 2018

GAEDEKE HOLDINGS VII, LTD., and GAEDEKE OIL & GAS OPERATING, LLC, Plaintiffs,
v.
LANDON SPEED, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          VICKI MILES-LAGRANGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is plaintiffs' Motion for Extension of Time Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1)(B), filed November 15, 2017. On December 6, 2017, defendants Todd Baker and Landon Speed (“Remaining Defendants”) filed their response, and on December 13, 2017, plaintiffs filed their reply. Also before the Court is plaintiffs' Motion for Relief from Final Order Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b), filed November 15, 2017. On December 6, 2017, Remaining Defendants filed their response, and on December 13, 2017, plaintiffs filed their reply. Based upon the parties' submissions, the Court makes its determination.

         I. Background

         From September 10, 2013 through September 20, 2013, a jury trial was held in this case, and the jury returned its verdict on September 20, 2013. Various post-trial motions were filed, and on January 30, 2014, the Court ruled on the post-trial motions and entered judgment in this case. On February 13, 2014, plaintiffs filed a motion for costs and a motion for attorney fees and non-taxable costs. On February 19, 2014, the defendants filed a joint motion to stay plaintiffs' motion for costs and motion for attorney fees and non-taxable costs. On February 26, 2014, the Court entered an order denying plaintiffs' motion for costs and motion for attorney fees and non-taxable costs without prejudice to refiling after the resolution of any appeals[1] in this case.[2] In its Order, the Court further noted that “[t]he parties may file any motions for costs and/or motions for attorney fees within fourteen (14) days of the resolution of all appeals in this case.” February 26, 2014 Order [docket no. 525] at 2. On February 27, 2014, plaintiffs filed their Rule 59 Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment or, in the Alternative, for New Trial on Damages.[3] On April 21, 2014, the Court granted plaintiffs' motion for new trial on damages and vacated the January 30, 2014 Judgment as to damages only.[4]

         From December 1, 2015 through December 9, 2015, a jury trial on the issue of damages was held in this case, and the jury returned its verdict on December 9, 2015. On December 11, 2015, the Court entered a new judgment in this case. On December 28, 2015, defendant Baker Petroleum and Investments, Inc. filed a motion for costs. On December 31, 2015, plaintiffs filed a Motion to Stay or Deny Without Prejudice Defendant Baker Petroleum's Bill of Costs and Motion for Costs Pending Resolution of Appeal.[5] In its response to plaintiffs' motion, defendant Baker Petroleum stated that its bill of costs and associated motion were moot and that it had no objection to the Court dismissing them without prejudice. Based upon the statement of defendant Baker Petroleum, the Court dismissed the bill of costs and associated motion without prejudice. See January 22, 2016 Order [docket no. 804].

         On January 4, 2016, plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal. On January 19, 2016, defendants Todd Baker and Landon Speed filed a notice of cross appeal. On March 30, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit entered its order and judgment affirming this Court's judgment. On April 13, 2017, plaintiffs filed a motion for attorney fees and non-taxable costs and a motion for costs. This Court denied plaintiffs' motions as untimely, finding as follows:

Having carefully reviewed the parties' submissions, and based upon Rule 54(d)(2)(B) and the Advisory Committee Notes, the Court finds that while this Court's February 26, 2014 Order established a deadline for filing motions for attorney fees and costs after the resolution of any appeals in this case, this order was filed prior to the motion for new trial on damages being filed, prior to the Court granting the motion for new trial on damages, and prior to the Court entering a new judgment on December 11, 2015. The Advisory Committee Notes clearly and expressly indicate that the entry of a new judgment following the granting of a motion for a new trial under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59 triggers the running (for a second time) of the fourteen day time period set forth in Rule 54(d)(2)(B). See, e.g., Quigley v. Rosenthal, 427 F.3d 1232, 1236-37 (10th Cir. 2005) (finding same portion of Advisory Committee Notes indicated entry of judgment following reversal on appeal triggered running for second time of fourteen day time period set forth in Rule 54(d)(2)(B)). Plaintiffs' motions for attorney fees and costs, therefore, were to be filed on or before December 28, 2015. Because plaintiffs' motions were not filed until April 13, 2017, the Court finds these motions should be denied as untimely.

October 24, 2017 Order [docket no. 839] at 3-4.

         II. Discussion

         Plaintiffs now move this Court, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1)(B), for an order extending the time in which plaintiffs may file their applications for attorney fees and costs to within fourteen (14) days of the Court's order or, in the alternative, move this Court, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1) and (6), to modify its October 24, 2017 Order to permit plaintiffs to file their motions for attorney fees and costs within fourteen (14) days of the Court's modified order.

         A. Rule 6(b)(1)(B) motion

         Plaintiffs assert that while the Court has now clarified that it did not intend by its February 26, 2014 Order to extend the time for filing any motions for attorney fees and costs until disposition of all appeals in the case, they genuinely and reasonably understood that the Court intended them to wait until “all appeals in this case” were decided before doing so. Plaintiffs further assert that while they believe their construction of the Court's February 26, 2014 Order is objectively correct, any mistake by them in understanding the Court's intent was inadvertent, made in good faith, and excusable, and warrants Rule 6(b)(1)(B) relief. Remaining Defendants contend that plaintiffs have failed to show excusable neglect for not timely seeking their fees and costs. Remaining Defendants further contend that plaintiffs cannot establish excusable neglect because this Court has already found the controlling rule is clear and/or because plaintiffs made a tactical choice not to timely file their motions for attorney fees and costs.

         Rule 6(b)(1)(B) provides: “When an act may or must be done within a specified time, the court may, for good cause, extend the time: . . . (B) on motion made after the time has expired if the party failed to act because of excusable neglect.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1)(B). “[I]t is well established that inadvertence, ignorance of the rules, and mistakes construing the rules do not constitute excusable neglect for purposes of Rule 6(b)”. Quigley v. Rosenthal, 427 F.3d 1232, 1238 (10th Cir. 2005) (internal citations omitted).

         Having carefully reviewed the parties' submissions, the Court finds that plaintiffs have not shown excusable neglect. Specifically, the Court finds that while plaintiffs were mistaken in their understanding of the Court's February 26, 2014 Order, it was plaintiffs' ignorance and/or mistake regarding Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(2)(B) that ultimately caused their motions for attorney fees and costs to be untimely. Further, as stated in the Court's October 24, 2017 Order, the Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 54 “clearly and expressly indicate that the entry of a new judgment following the granting of a motion for a new trial under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59 triggers the running (for a second time) of the fourteen day time period set forth in Rule 54(d)(2)(B).” October 24, 2017 Order at 3 (emphasis added). Based upon the Tenth Circuit's decision in Quigley, the Court finds that ...


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