United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Grace
Borsari's motion to enter judgment on her counterclaim
(Dkt. No. 106). Having thoroughly considered the parties'
briefing and the relevant record, the Court finds oral
argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion for the
reasons explained herein.
Yvette Bailey (“Bailey”) sued her former
employers alleging, among other things, that she was
wrongfully terminated in violation of public policy. (Dkt.
No. 30 at 13.) Defendant Grace Borsari
(“Borsari”) made a counterclaim alleging Bailey
breached three promissory notes when she failed to repay $6,
400 Borsari had loaned her. (Dkt. No. 31 at 10.) On September
17, 2017, the Court issued a partial order for summary
judgment, dismissing all but one of Bailey's claims
against Defendants and granting summary judgment in favor of
Borsari on her breach of contract counterclaim. (Dkt. No. 60
at 14-15.) The Court did not issue a separate judgment for
any of the claims it resolved on summary judgment.
parties proceeded to trial on Bailey's remaining claim.
At the close of Bailey's case, the Court granted
Defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law. (Dkt.
No. 99.) On November 14, 2017, the Court entered a judgment
which stated: “In accordance with the Court's
summary judgment Order dated September 19, 2017 and the
Court's Order granting Defendant's motion for
judgment as a matter of law dated November 14, 2017,
Plaintiff's claims are dismissed with prejudice as to all
Defendants.” (Dkt. No. 100.) The judgment did not
reference Borsari's counterclaim. (Id.) Borsari
filed the present motion on December 13, 2017, asking the
Court to enter a final judgment on her counterclaim. (Dkt.
No. 106.) Based on the terms of the promissory notes, Borsari
seeks the unpaid principle ($6, 400), pre-judgment interest
($720), and reasonable attorney fees ($5000), for a total of
$12, 120. (Id. at 3.)
argues that the Court should not award Borsari attorney fees
because her motion is untimely. (Dkt. No. 112 at
Bailey asserts that the Court's summary judgment order
issued in September represented a final judgment on
Borsari's counterclaim. (Id.) Because the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require a motion for
attorney fees to be filed within 14 days of judgment, Bailey
argues that Borsari failed to timely move for attorney fees.
(Id. at 2-3.) Borsari counters that the Court never
entered a final judgment on her counterclaim because its
summary judgment order did not include a separate judgment
and the Court's post-trial judgment only addressed
Bailey's claims. (Dkt. No. 106 at 3-4.)
Timeliness of Borsari's Motion for Attorney Fees
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a judgment
“includes a decree and any order from which an appeal
lies.” Fed R. Civ. P. 54(a). Except in circumstances
not applicable to this case, “[e]very judgment and
amended judgment must be set out in a separate
document.” Fed. R.
58(a). A motion for attorney fees must “be filed no
later than 14 days after the entry of judgment” unless
a statute or court order provides otherwise. Fed.R.Civ.P.
the above rules to this case, the Court concludes that a
final judgment has not been entered on Borsari's
counterclaim, and her motion for attorney fees is therefore
timely. The Court's summary judgment order did not
represent a judgment because it was not set out in a separate
document, and the Court did not expressly state in its order
that its grant of summary judgment on Borsari's
counterclaim represented a final judgment. Bailey's
assertion that the Court's summary judgment order
represents a final judgment conflicts with Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 54(b) which states in pertinent part:
when an action presents more than one claim for relief . . .
or when multiple parties are involved, the court may direct
entry of a final judgment as to one or more, but fewer than
all, claims or parties only if the court expressly determines
that there is no just reason for delay. Otherwise, any order
or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer
than all the claims or rights and liabilities of fewer than
all the parties does not end the action as to any of the
claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the
entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the
parties' rights and liabilities.
Court's summary judgment order did not represent a final
judgment because it neither adjudicated all of the
parties' claims nor expressly stated that it was
directing final judgment on Borsari's counterclaim. In
addition, the Court's post-trial judgment does not
represent a final judgment of Borsari's counterclaim
because the judgment only made reference to Bailey's
claims against the Defendants. In the face of this silence,
Borsari appropriately filed her motion for final judgment on
her counterclaim. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 58(d)
(“[a] party may request that judgment be set out in a
separate document as required by Rule 58(a)”). Since
the Court has not entered a final judgment, Borsari's
motion for attorney fees is timely. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(2).