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Cole v. City of Memphis

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

February 28, 2017

LAKENDUS COLE AND LEON EDMUND, individually and as representatives of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF MEMPHIS, and ROBERT FORBERT, SAMUEL HEARN, CHRISTOPHER BING, JOHN FAIRCLOTH, CARI COOPER and ROBERT SKELTON, IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES AS CITY OF MEMPHIS POLICE OFFICERS, Defendants.

         JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO LIFT PARTIAL STAY OF JUDGMENT & CONCERNING MOTION FOR SUPPLEMENTAL AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES, AND POST-JUDGMENT INTEREST

          JON P. McCALLA UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         Before the Court are Motions to Lift Partial Stay of Judgment (ECF No. 235) and for Supplemental Award of Attorneys' Fees Reimbursement of Expenses, and Post-Judgment Interest (ECF No. 236) filed by Plaintiff Lakendus Cole, individually and on behalf of the class, on January 25, 2017. Defendants City of Memphis and City of Memphis Police Officers Robert Forbert, Samuel Hearn, Christopher Bing, John Faircloth, Cari Cooper, and Robert Skelton in their official capacities (collectively, “Defendant City of Memphis” or “Defendant”) filed responses in opposition on February 3, 2017 (ECF No. 242) and February 7, 2017 (ECF No. 243). With leave, Plaintiff filed a reply to Defendant City of Memphis's response on the issue of the Court lifting the partial stay on February 8, 2017. (ECF No. 246.) Defendants filed a sur-reply with leave in opposition on February 14, 2017. (ECF No. 249.) For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Lift Partial Stay of Judgment (ECF No. 235) and ORDERS Defendant to file its response to Plaintiff's Motion for Supplemental Award of Attorneys' Fees, Reimbursement of Expenses, and Post-Judgment Interest (ECF No. 236) no later than fourteen (14) days from the date of entry of this Order.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On August 27, 2015, this Court entered a Judgment awarding Plaintiff $35, 000.00 in damages as awarded by the jury and $411.48 in prejudgment interest. (ECF No. 188 at PageID 2401.) The Court also granted Plaintiff's request for post-judgment interest and attorney fees in the amount of $447, 998.03 for work conducted by Spence Law Firm, PLLC. (Id.)

         On October 28, 2015, the Court stayed the “judgment against [Defendant City of Memphis] for monetary damages without the posting of a supersedeas bond.” (ECF No. 207 at PageID 2824.) The Court, however, did not stay “the injunctive relief in paragraphs 7(b) and 8 of the Order Granting Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, filed on June 3, 2015 (ECF No. 161), on the basis that each of the four (4) factors required to be considered by a trial court in determining whether to grant a stay weigh against the issuance of a stay of the injunctive relief.” (Id.) Thereafter, Defendant appealed to the Sixth Circuit. (ECF No. 174.) The appeal concluded, affirming the Court's judgment on October 17, 2016 (ECF No. 232), and a mandate issued on January 12, 2017 (ECF No. 234).

         On January 25, 2017, Plaintiff filed two motions: (1) Motion to Lift Partial Stay of Judgment (ECF No. 235) and (2) a Motion for Supplemental Award of Attorneys' Fees Reimbursement of Expenses, and Post-Judgment Interest (ECF No. 236). Plaintiff requests the Court lift the partial stay now that the Sixth Circuit's mandate has issued. (ECF No. 235.) Plaintiff also requests that as the prevailing party on appeal he and the class he represents receive reasonable attorneys' fees, an enhancement of those fees by 1.15 (i.e. 15%), reimbursement of fees and expenses, and post-judgment interest that includes attorneys' fees and expenses from the date of Judgment entered on August 27, 2015. (ECF No. 236-1 at PageIDs 3379-80.)

         Defendant responded in opposition to the proposition that the Court lift the partial stay on February 3, 2017. (ECF No. 242.) Defendant argues that the “Court has the power to continue the partial stay” and “should exercise this power and continue the partial stay through final disposition of the City's certiorari petition.” (Id. at PageIDs 3415-16 (citing Am. Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Am. Broad.-Paramount Theatres, Inc., 87 S.Ct. 1, 3 (1966) (Harlan, J., in chambers) for proposition that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62 “continues in force through the certiorari stage;” and citing the All Writs Act. 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a) as giving this Court statutory power to continue the stay.) Defendant contends that continuing the stay will not prejudice Plaintiff because post-judgment interest will continue to accrue through the disposition of the certiorari petition, and ultimately “maintain the status quo.” (Id. at PageIDs 3416, 3417.) Its petition is also not made “with an improper purpose, ” Defendant asserts, because “[t]here presently exists a substantial split among the Circuits as to whether and to what extent there is a constitutional right to intra-state travel.” (Id. at PageIDs 3416-17.)

         On February 7, 2017, Defendant filed a response in opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Supplemental Award of Attorneys' Fees, Reimbursement of Expenses, and Post-Judgment Interest (ECF No. 236). (ECF No. 243.)

         In his reply to Defendant's response on the issue of the Court lifting the partial stay, filed on February 8, 2017, Plaintiff argues that the Court cannot stay the execution of the Sixth Circuit's judgment, and that such a request must be sought from either the Sixth Circuit itself or the United States Supreme Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2101(f). (ECF No. 246.)

         Defendant contends in its sur-reply, filed on February 14, 2017, that it does not seek for “this Court to stay execution of an appellate court judgment” and that Supreme Court rules suggest this Court has jurisdiction to stay the case pending certiorari review. (ECF No 249 at PageIDs 3448-49 (citing S.Ct. R. 23.3).)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Lift Partial Stay of Judgment (ECF No. 235)

         Whether the district court's jurisdiction is restored upon the Court of Appeals mandate such that the district court may stay the execution of judgment pending an application to the Supreme Court for certiorari, is a question that lacks binding precedent in the Sixth Circuit. The question has been answered, however, by many district courts across the nation. The general consensus is that district courts are not permitted on either legal or prudential ...


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