United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ATTORNEY
D. NOCE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is the motion of plaintiff Tom Dunne Jr. for
attorney's fees and costs (Doc. 328) resulting from the
Court's October 30, 2018 order (Doc. 314) sustaining his
motion to compel pretrial production of documents by
defendants Resource Converting LLC, Tim Danley, and Rick
Kersey ("RCI defendants"). (Doc. 310). RCI
defendants oppose the motion, and have also filed a motion
for reconsideration of the Court's October 30, 2018
order. (Doc. 352).
the latest round of discovery disputes in a contentious case.
The proceedings leading up to this motion are highly
relevant, and the parties characterize these proceedings and
their impact differently, so the Court will discuss them in
October 13, 2017, plaintiff filed its first motion to compel
production of documents, alleging that despite
plaintiff's good-faith efforts to resolve discovery
disputes, RCI defendants' counsel had instructed their
clients not to search for or produce documents responsive to
plaintiff's document requests. (Doc. 203). The RCI
defendants responded, and the plaintiff replied, and the
Court heard oral arguments on November 3, 2017. (Docs. 209,
218, 219). The Court concluded that the motion to compel must
be granted, instructing plaintiff to file a motion for
attorney fees. (Docs. 220, 239). After reviewing
plaintiff's motion for fees, the RCI defendants'
objections in response, and plaintiff's reply, the Court
awarded plaintiff $16, 477.75 in attorney fees.
the RCI defendants failed to fully comply with the
Court's order and produce all of the relevant documents.
While the Court was still considering the motion for fees,
and nearly three months after the motion to compel was
granted on November 6, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion to
enforce the Court's order and second motion to compel
production of documents on February 20, 2018. (Doc. 254). One
week later, the RCI defendants filed a lengthy response with
multiple exhibits. (Doc. 258). Plaintiff replied, and the
Court held a hearing on April 10, 2018, at which counsel for
the RCI defendants appeared and defended his clients'
position. (Docs. 261, 274). The case was then stayed for
several months pending the related trial in the Southern
District of Iowa, and the Court denied the pending motion as
moot without prejudice to being refiled if the Court resumed
proceedings in September 2018. (Doc. 292).
refiled the motion upon the lifting of the stay, and the
Court allowed further arguments at a status conference on
October 29, 2018. (Docs. 310 and 313). The RCI
defendants' counsel had filed a motion to withdraw three
days before, on October 26, 2018, and appeared at the hearing
without fully participating in arguments. (Doc. 312). The
Court took the matter under submission based on the
parties' previous briefs and arguments, ultimately
granting plaintiff's motion to enforce the Court's
order and second motion to compel and ordering (1) the RCI
defendants to produce the responsive documents in a format
reasonably usable to plaintiff and (2) that plaintiff file an
affidavit of fees and costs incurred in preparing, filing,
and prosecuting the second motion to compel. (Doc. 314).
then filed his motion and affidavit of fees for the second
motion to compel, claiming $49, 337.50, approximately three
times the amount claimed for the initial motion. (Doc. 327).
The parties filed responses, replies, and sur-replies. (Docs.
334, 349, 350, 351, 360).
defendants simultaneously filed a motion for reconsideration
of the Court's order granting plaintiff's second
motion to compel. (Doc. 352). Plaintiff objected and the RCI
defendants replied. (Docs. 359 and 363).
Court heard arguments on the pending motion for attorney fees
and motion for reconsideration at a February 1, 2019 status
conference. Accordingly, all of the discovery motions in this
case have been extensively argued, with multiple
opportunities for both sides to present their positions. .
defendants move this Court to reconsider its order enforcing
discovery sanctions, claiming that plaintiff's motion was
ruled without an adequate response from the RCI defendants.
(Doc. 352). Defendants bring this as a “motion for
reconsideration” with reference to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 7(b). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do
not mention motions for reconsideration, only motions to
alter or amend judgments (under Rule 59) and motions for
relief from judgments or orders (under Rule 60). Neither of
these Rules applies here, because the order defendants seek
to have reconsidered is not a final judgment or order, but
rather an interlocutory or non-dispositive decision.
Court nevertheless has authority to reconsider its own
interlocutory decisions. It has inherent authority, and Rule
54(b) further provides that “any order or other
decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all
the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all