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Crawford v. Japan Airlines

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

May 29, 2015

JACK CRAWFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
JAPAN AIRLINES, ET AL., Defendants.

ORDER DENYING MARTIN STERENBUCH’S MOTION FOR RELIEF UNDER FEDERAL RULE 60 FROM THE COURT’S ORDER OF MARCH 30, 2015

LESLIE E. KOBAYASHI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

On April 24, 2015, Martin Sterenbuch, Esq., former counsel for Plaintiff Jack Crawford (“Crawford”), filed his Motion for Relief under Federal Rule 60 from the Court’s Order of March 30, 2015 (“Motion”). [Dkt. no. 556.] Defendant Japan Airlines (“JAL”) filed its memorandum in opposition on April 28, 2015, and Mr. Sterenbuch filed his reply on May 4, 2015. [Dkt. nos. 557, 559.] The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule LR7.2(d) of the Local Rules of Practice of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i (“Local Rules”). After careful consideration of the Motion, supporting and opposing memoranda, and the relevant legal authority, the Motion is HEREBY DENIED for the reasons set forth below.

BACKGROUND

The relevant factual and procedural background of this case are set forth in this Court’s:

-March 28, 2014 Order: 1) Granting Plaintiff’s Objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Findings and Recommendation to Grant in Part and Deny in Part Defendant Hawaii Aviation Contract Services, Inc.’s Motion for Award of Attorney’s Fees and Rejecting the Findings and Recommendation; and 2) Denying Plaintiff’s Objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Findings and Recommendation to Grant in Part and Deny in Part Defendant Japan Airlines’ Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Adopting the Findings and Recommendation (“3/28/14 Fee Order”); [dkt. no. 538;[1] and
-March 30, 2015 Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant Japan Airlines’s Motion to Show Cause Regarding Plaintiff Jack Crawford’s and His Counsel’s Failure to Pay the Court’s Award of Attorney’s Fees and Costs (“3/30/15 Enforcement Order”); [dkt. no. 555].

In the 3/28/14 Fee Order, this Court adopted the magistrate judge’s recommendation that JAL be awarded $52, 511.02 in attorneys’ fees and $4, 580.87 in costs.[2] This Court ordered Crawford to pay fifty percent of the $57, 091.89 total award ($28, 545.94) and his counsel to pay fifty percent. 2014 WL 1326580, at *2, *7. Further, this Court stated: “Michael Green, James Frechter, and Martin Sterenbuch shall be jointly and severally liable for the portion of the total award attributable to Crawford’s counsel.” Id. at *7. In the 3/30/15 Enforcement Order, [3] this Court modified the 3/28/14 Fee Order by ordering “Mr. Green, Mr. Frechter, and Mr. Sterenbuch shall each be responsible for one-third of the $28, 545.95 award attributable to counsel.” [3/30/15 Enforcement Order at 10.] Relevant to the instant Motion, this Court ordered Mr. Sterenbuch to pay $9, 515.31 to JAL, through JAL’s counsel, by May 14, 2015. [Id. at 11.]

In the instant Motion, Mr. Sterenbuch seeks relief from the 3/30/15 Enforcement Order, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60. He asks this Court to vacate the fee award against him or to reduce it to a minimal amount.

STANDARD

Although Mr. Sterenbuch does not specify which subsection of Rule 60 that he bases his Motion upon, this Court concludes that the applicable provision is Rule 60(b), which states:

Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding. On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for ...

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