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North Star International Trucks Inc. v. Navistar, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 26, 2013

North Star International Trucks, Inc. d/b/a Astleford International Trucks, et al., Respondents,
v.
Navistar, Inc., Appellant, Boyer Ford Trucks, Inc., Defendant.

Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CV-10-511.

Robert L. DeMay, Douglas R. Boettge, Liz Kramer, Leonard, Street and Deinard Professional Association, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondents).

George W. Soule, Melissa R. Stull, Bowman and Brooke LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Kristine Argentine (pro hac vice), Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, Chicago, Illinois (for appellant).

Considered and decided by Cleary, Presiding Judge; Hooten, Judge; and Huspeni, Judge. [*]

SYLLABUS

Neither requesting leave to file a motion for reconsideration nor filing a motion for reconsideration tolls or extends the time to appeal an order or judgment or prevents it from becoming final.

OPINION

CLEARY, JUDGE.

Following a judgment on litigation costs and disbursements, appellant brought a motion for reconsideration and the district court amended the judgment and directed entry of a second judgment on costs and disbursements. The district court later issued an order vacating the second cost judgment and reaffirming the first cost judgment, holding that it lacked jurisdiction to amend the first cost judgment. Appellant challenges the court's decision to vacate the second cost judgment. We affirm.

FACTS

In 2010, litigation commenced between appellant Navistar, Inc., a manufacturer of trucks and truck parts, and respondents North Star International Trucks, Inc. d/b/a Astleford International Trucks, and Astleford Equipment Co. Inc., d/b/a/ Astleford International Idealease & Isuzu, dealers of those trucks and truck parts. Following a multi-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of appellant, and the district court ordered respondents to pay appellant's litigation costs and disbursements. Appellant filed a bill of costs and disbursements, seeking to tax $358, 275.83 in costs and disbursements, including $232, 063.65 in expert-witness fees, against respondents. The court administrator determined that appellant could tax $46, 850.26 in costs and disbursements, including $6, 625 in expert-witness fees. The parties appealed the court administrator's decision to the district court, and the court ordered respondents to pay $53, 438.02 for appellant's costs and disbursements. This amount included no award for expert-witness fees because the court determined that it had no evidence from which to determine whether those fees were reasonable. Judgment on costs and disbursements was entered on July 26, 2012 (the first cost judgment).

On August 9, 2012, appellant sent a letter to the district court requesting leave to file a motion for reconsideration pursuant to Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 115.11. Appellant sought reconsideration of the court's denial of taxation of expert-witness fees, claiming that the court did have sufficient evidence from which it could conclude that those fees were reasonable. The following day, the court sent the parties an e-mail indicating that it would consider appellant's request during the final week of August.

The district court took no action on appellant's request until October 5, 2012, when it issued an order stating that it would entertain a motion for reconsideration of its decision on costs and disbursements. On October 15, 2012, appellant filed a motion for reconsideration pursuant to Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 115.11. The court subsequently ordered respondents to pay $160, 438.02 for appellant's costs and disbursements, including $107, 000 in expert-witness fees. The court determined that this amount in fees was reasonable, based on the experts' qualifications, hourly rates, and trial testimony. The court amended the first cost judgment, and a second judgment on costs and disbursements was entered on October 22, 2012 (the second cost judgment).

On November 16, 2012, respondents filed a motion to vacate the second cost judgment, arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction to amend the first cost judgment and that the second cost judgment was therefore void. On December 18, 2012, the court issued an order vacating the second cost judgment, reaffirming the first cost judgment, and staying enforcement of the first cost judgment pending appeal. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to amend the first cost judgment and direct entry of the second cost judgment ...


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