United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Jordan S. Kushner, Plaintiff,
Lieutenant Troy Buhta, Officer Ashlee Lange, Officer Kathleen Temple, Sergeant Kristin Tyra, Linda Lokensgard, Eric W. Kaler, Defendants.
S. KUSHNER, PETER J. NICKITAS, FOR PLAINTIFF.
TIMOTHY PRAMAS AND DANIEL J. HERBER, FOR DEFENDANTS.
RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Motion for Attorney's
Fees [Doc. No. 143] and Objections to the Bill of Costs
(“Objections”) [Doc. No. 168] filed by Plaintiff
Jordan S. Kushner. For the reasons set forth below, the
motion is denied and the objections are overruled.
Complaint, Kushner asserted fourteen claims, including
several tort claims and claims brought under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for violations of his constitutional rights.
(See Compl. [Doc. No. 1].) The claims related to
Kushner's removal from a November 2015 University of
Minnesota Law School lecture, his subsequent arrest, and the
issuance of a trespass warning. Defendants are employees of
the University of Minnesota (“the University”).
(See Id. ¶¶ 16-97.) The trespass warning
prohibited Kushner from entering any University facilities or
properties located on the west bank of the Minneapolis campus
for a one-year period. (See Id. ¶¶ 2, 4,
68-69, 76, 86, 90-96.) While Kushner initially sought
injunctive relief with respect to the trespass warning,
(see Pl.'s Mot. for Prelim. Inj. [Doc. No. 13]),
the University ultimately vacated it prior to its expiration,
and the parties filed a stipulation concerning the terminated
trespass warning in September 2016. (Stip. at 2 [Doc. No.
32].) The Court issued an Order adopting the parties'
stipulation and denying as moot Plaintiff's motion for
injunctive relief (the “Order Adopting the
Stipulation”). (Sept. 28, 2016 [Doc. No. 35].)
case proceeded through discovery to summary judgment. On
April 18, 2018, the Court granted Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment and dismissed Kushner's Complaint with
prejudice. (Sealed Summ. J. Order [Doc. No. 140].) On May 8,
2018, Defendants filed a Bill of Costs [Doc. No. 142], to
which Kushner objected [Doc. No. 148]. The following day, May
9, 2018, Kushner filed the instant motion, seeking
Clerk of Court entered a Cost Judgment [Doc. No. 167] on
October 19, 2018, taxing $3, 549.15 in costs against Kushner
and in favor of Defendants. Kushner sought review of the
Clerk's action in his Objections, presently before the
Court, and Defendants filed a response [Doc. No. 169].
Motion for Attorney's Fees, Kushner acknowledges that his
motion was filed six days after the filing deadline, but asks
that the Court consider it on grounds of excusable neglect.
(Pl.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. for Atty's Fees at 1-2
(“Pl.'s Atty's Fees Mem.”) [Doc. No.
144].) He argues that he is entitled to attorney's fees
as the prevailing party for the portion of legal
representation that resulted in the termination of the
trespass warning. (Id. at 3-6.) He contends that the
only reason the University agreed to lift the trespass
warning was due to this lawsuit. (Id.) Kushner
asserts that he prevailed in this regard because the Court
ordered a change in the parties' relationship by
approving the parties' stipulation to remove the trespass
warning. (Id.) Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988, he
seeks $30, 058.80 in attorney's fees and $418.60 costs.
in his Objections to the Bill of Costs, Kushner argues that
he was the prevailing party in this litigation and should not
be taxed with costs. (Objs. at 1-2.) In the alternative, he
requests that the Court stay costs pending appeal.
(Id. at 6-9.)
oppose Kushner's fee petition and his Objections to the
Bill of Costs. They assert that the Court need not consider
the merits of the fee petition because it was untimely filed
and Kushner fails to demonstrate excusable neglect.
(Def.'s Opp'n to Atty's Fees at 2-4 [Doc. No.
157].) If the Court considers the merits of Kushner's fee
petition, Defendants argue that he was not a prevailing
party, as the University voluntarily lifted the trespass
warning. (Id. at 6-7.) Moreover, Defendants contend
that the Court ultimately dismissed the due process claim on
which Kushner based his claim for injunctive relief.
(Id. at 7.) Finally, Defendants argue that even if
Kushner were a prevailing party entitled to attorney's
fees, he is not entitled to any reimbursement for his own
time working on the case, and many of his billing entries are
too vague to assess their validity. (Id. at 7- 8.)
respect to Kushner's Objections to the Bill of Costs,
Defendants argue that Kushner was not the prevailing party
and the costs in question bear no relationship to the
stipulation to terminate the trespass warning. (Defs.'
Resp. to Objs. at 2-3 [Doc. No. 169].) Defendants also oppose
Plaintiff's request in the alternative for a stay,
arguing that it is procedurally improper and substantively
unsupported. (Id. at 7-8.)