United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Jeffrey M. Montpetit, Esq., and Susan M. Holden, Esq.,
SiebenCarey, P.A.; and Lorenz F. Fett, Jr., Esq., Sonia L.
Miller-Van Oort, Esq., and Jonathan A. Strauss, Esq.,
Sapientia Law Group PLLC, counsel for Plaintiff.
Iverson, Esq., Stephanie A. Angolkar, Esq., and Susan M.
Tindal, Esq., Iverson Reuvers Condon, counsel for Defendants
City of Baudette, City of Big Lake, City of Brooklyn Park,
City of Buffalo Lake, City of Burnsville, City of Golden
Valley, City of Inver Grove Heights, City of Thief River
Falls, City of White Bear Lake, and City of Woodbury.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Motion for Relief from
Judgment by City of Baudette, City of Big Lake, City of
Brooklyn Park, City of Buffalo Lake, City of Burnsville, City
of Golden Valley, City of Inver Grove Heights, City of Thief
River Falls, City of White Bear Lake, and City of Woodbury
(collectively, the “City Defendants”). (Doc. No.
69.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.
initiated this lawsuit on March 25, 2015. (Doc. No. 1.)
Plaintiff asserts a single count against all Defendants for
alleged violations of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act
(“DPPA”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 2721-25.
(See Id. ¶¶ 334-55.) On March 28, 2016,
the Court granted multiple motions to dismiss (primarily on
statute-of-limitations grounds), dismissing claims against
numerous Defendants in this matter. (See generally
Doc. No. 60.) The Court also concluded that Plaintiff
asserted plausible claims against the City of Brooklyn Park
based on two timely lookups of Plaintiff's information.
(See Id. at 13-17.)
April 19, 2016, the City Defendants tendered a Rule 68 Offer
of Judgment to Plaintiff which Plaintiff accepted on May 2,
2016. (See Doc. Nos. 66 & 66-1.) The City
Defendants' Offer of Judgment stated that:
Acceptance of the Rule 68 Offer will terminate all
proceedings before the Court and any and all potential
appeals of dismissed claims and allow Plaintiff's counsel
to petition the Court for reasonable costs and attorney's
fees solely attributed to these Defendants, incurred to date,
as determined recoverable under 18 U.S.C. § 2724.
(Doc. No. 66 at 2.) On May 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed a letter
notifying the Court of the parties' settlement and noting
that “a term of the Rule 68 Offer of Judgment is that
the Plaintiff will petition Judge Frank for reasonable
attorneys' fees and costs.” (Doc. No. 64.) On May
4, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Acceptance, and the
Clerk entered Judgment in Plaintiff's favor against the
City Defendants for $5, 015.51. (Doc. Nos. 66, 66-1, &
67.) Plaintiff has not filed a motion for attorney fees and
5, 2017, the City Defendants filed the Motion for Relief From
Judgment presently before the Court. (Doc. No. 69.) The City
Defendants assert they are entitled to relief from judgment
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5) because the
Judgment has been satisfied. In connection with their Motion,
the City Defendants have submitted documentation
demonstrating that they tendered a check to Plaintiff in the
amount of $5, 015.51 on August 11, 2016 which cleared on
August 18, 2016. (See Doc. No. 72 (“Angolkar
Aff.”) ¶ 2, Ex. 1 & ¶ 3, Ex. 2.) The City
Defendants also provide evidence of attempts by counsel to
obtain a signed Satisfaction of Judgment from Plaintiff's
counsel via e-mail on September 22, 2016 and April 27, 2017.
(Angolkar Aff. ¶ 4, Ex. 3 & ¶ 5, Ex. 4.)
Plaintiff's counsel did not respond to these e-mails.
(See Angolkar Aff. ¶¶ 4, 5.)
opposes the City Defendants' Motion. Plaintiff does not
dispute that a $5, 015.51 check was issued on August 10, 2016
and cleared on August 18, 2016 or that counsel for the City
Defendants e-mailed Plaintiff's counsel regarding a
Satisfaction of Judgment on September 22, 2016 and April 27,
2017. Indeed, Plaintiff expressly stipulates to the facts
outlined in the City Defendants'
memorandum. However, Plaintiff asks the Court to deny
the City Defendants' Motion and permit Plaintiff to
petition for attorney fees. Plaintiff states,
“Plaintiff's counsel fully acknowledges that
through its own inadvertence, mistake and carelessness, they
- Sieben/Sapientia - have failed to timely file a motion for
attorneys' fees.” (Doc. No. 74 at 2.) Invoking
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(2), Plaintiff argues
that the Court should permit Plaintiff to file an untimely
motion based on the “recognized exceptions to deadlines
outlined in Rule 54(d)(2), one of which is
carelessness.” (Id. (quotation marks
omitted).) In other words, Plaintiff asks the Court to
determine that counsel's conduct constitutes excusable
neglect under the circumstances such that the City
Defendants' motion should be denied. The City Defendants
argue that Plaintiff has waived any claim for attorney fees
given the length of time that has passed since the Clerk
entered Judgment. According to the City Defendants,
“there is no just reason for delay of entering a
satisfaction of judgment, ” and they ask the Court to
do so. (Doc. No. 71 at 3.)
motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party . . .
from a final judgment . . . [if] the judgment has been
satisfied, released or discharged . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P.
60(b)(5). A motion for relief from judgment under this rule
must be brought “within a reasonable time.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(c)(1). Whether to grant such a motion is
within the court's ...