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Inline Packaging, LLC v. Graphic Packaging International, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 6, 2019

Inline Packaging, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
Graphic Packaging International, Inc., Defendant.

          Robert R. Weinstine, Esq., Justice Ericson Lindell, Esq., and Brent Lorentz, Esq., Winthrop & Weinstine, PA, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Plaintiff.

          Felicia Boyd, Esq., Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Minneapolis, MN; David Hamilton, Esq., Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP, Baltimore, MD; Jason Hicks, Esq., and Amanda Norris Ames, Esq., Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP, Washington, D.C., on behalf of Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ANN D. MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge for a ruling on Plaintiff Inline Packaging, LLC's (“Inline”) Objection [Docket No. 1062] to Magistrate Judge Leo I. Brisbois' January 11, 2019 Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) [Docket No. 1061]. In the R&R, Judge Brisbois recommends denying Inline's Motion to Stay Calculation of Costs [Docket No. 1047]. For the reasons set forth below, the Objection is overruled and the R&R is adopted.

         II. BACKGROUND

         In July 2015, Inline filed this lawsuit against Defendant Graphic Packaging International, LLC (“Graphic”) alleging antitrust violations, tortious interference, and misappropriation of trade secrets. See Compl. [Docket No. 1]. On September 5, 2018, this Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order [Docket No. 1035] granting summary judgment in Graphic's favor on all claims. Judgment for Graphic was entered on September 6, 2018. See J. [Docket No. 1037]. Inline filed a Notice of Appeal [Docket No. 1040] on October 5, 2018.

         Also on October 5, 2018, Graphic filed a Bill of Costs [Docket No. 1039] seeking $304, 930.89 in costs against Inline. Inline filed an Objection [Docket No. 1053] to Graphic's Bill of Costs, arguing that most of the costs are not taxable.

         On October 19, 2018, Inline filed this Motion to Stay Calculation or Taxation of Costs (“Motion to Stay”). Although the matter is a post-judgment issue that has not been referred by the undersigned, Inline noticed the Motion to Stay to be heard by Magistrate Judge Brisbois. R&R at 4; Hr'g Notice [Docket No. 1049].

         In addressing the Motion to Stay, Judge Brisbois determined that the Motion fell outside of his delegated duties under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) because that provision is limited to pretrial matters and the Motion to Stay is a post-judgment matter. R&R at 4. Judge Brisbois also determined that he lacked authority to submit proposed findings and recommendations under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) because the Motion to Stay had not been designated to him by a district court judge. Id. Nevertheless, in an attempt to conserve the time and resources of the parties and the Court, Judge Brisbois addressed the issues raised in the Motion to Stay and issued a Report and Recommendation to deny the Motion. Id. at 4, 8.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

          The parties disagree over the applicable standard of review. The Motion to Stay is nondispositive, and nondispositive motions are typically reviewed for clear error. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). However, Inline argues that the de novo standard should apply because the motion is not a “pretrial” matter under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). The confusion stems from Inline's procedurally improper scheduling and noticing of this post-trial matter before Judge Brisbois. To avoid further procedural confusion, the Court will conduct a de novo review.

         B. ...


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