ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR STAY OF PROCEEDINGS TO ENFORCE JUDGMENT PENDING APPEAL WITHOUT SUPERSEDEAS BOND OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, WITH PARTIAL SUPERSEDEAS BOND (DOC. 210)
Before the Court is Defendants City of Sonora, Chief of Police Mace Macintosh and Officer Hal Prock's (together, "Defendants") Motion for Stay of Proceedings to Enforce Judgment Pending Appeal without Supersedeas Bond or, in the Alternative, with Partial Supersedeas Bond ("Motion for Stay"). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion will be DENIED.
This civil rights action arises from Chief McIntosh and Officer Prock's September 29, 2008 arrest of Plaintiff, then an eleven year old student, at Sonora Elementary School. Plaintiff filed a Complaint (Compl., ECF No. 2) and an Amended Complaint (Am. Compl., ECF No. 54) alleging: (1) violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act; (2) false imprisonment; (3) battery; (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (5) violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (6) violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and (7) civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 pursuant to the Fourth Amendment. Plaintiff settled his claims against Defendants Sonora School District and Karen Sinclair on November 6, 2009. Pet. Approval Compr., ECF No. 48.
The case was tried before a jury beginning on August 23, 2011. On September 1, 2011, the jury returned a verdict in Plaintiff's favor against Defendants and awarded Plaintiff $265,000 in damages against Defendants, as follows: $100,000 against the City of Sonora; $120,000 against Chief McIntosh; and $65,000 against Officer Prock. Verdict 12-13, 16, ECF No. 174. Although the jury found that Plaintiff was entitled to recover punitive damages against Chief McIntosh and Officer Prock, they did not award Plaintiff any punitive damages. Id. Plaintiff submitted a Bill of Costs for $11,063.08 (ECF No. 175), of which $5,633.29 was taxed (ECF No. 216). On September 30, 2011, the Court denied Defendants' Motion for a New Trial and Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law (Order, ECF No. 194), granted Plaintiff $163,275 in attorneys' fees (Order, ECF No. 197), and entered Judgment in favor of Plaintiff against Defendants (J., ECF No. 195). Defendants filed an appeal of the Judgment. Not. Appeal, ECF No. 208. All proceedings to enforce the Judgment were stayed pending the Court's adjudication of the Motion for Stay. Order, ECF No. 211.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62(a), a district court's judgment becomes final and enforceable fourteen days after judgment is entered. Columbia Pictures Indus., Inc. v. Krypton Broad. of Birmingham, Inc., 259 F.3d 1186, 1197 (9th Cir. 2001); Fed. R. Civ. P. 62(a). "At that time, a prevailing plaintiff is entitled to execute upon a judgment." Columbia Pictures Indus., 259 F.3d at 1197.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62(d) allows an appellant to stay the execution of a judgment pending appeal by posting a supersedeas bond. Fed. R. Civ. P. 62(d). "The stay takes effect when the court approves the bond." Fed. R. Civ. P. 62(d). The purpose of a supersedeas bond is to secure an appellee from a loss that may result from the stay. Rachel v. Banana Republic, Inc., 831 F.2d 1503, 1505 n.1 (9th Cir. 1987). "The posting of a bond protects the prevailing plaintiff from the risk of a later uncollectible judgment and compensates him for delay in the entry of the final judgment." NLRB v. Westphal, 859 F.2d 818, 819 (9th Cir. 1988). "Because the stay operates for the appellant's benefit and deprives the appellee of the immediate benefits of his judgment, a full supersedeas bond should be the requirement in normal circumstances." Fed. Prescription Serv., Inc. v. Am. Pharm. Ass'n, 636 F.2d 755, 760 (D.C. Cir. 1980).
District courts have "inherent discretionary authority in setting supersedeas bonds," Rachel, 831 F.2d at 1505 n.1, including the discretion to allow alternative types of security or to waive the bond requirement. Int'l Telemeter, Corp. v. Hamlin Int'l Corp., 754 F.2d 1492, 1495 (9th Cir. 1985) ("Although Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62 provides that a supersedeas bond may be used to stay execution of a judgment pending appeal, the court has discretion to allow other forms of judgment guarantee."); Townsend v. Holman Consulting Corp., 881 F.2d 788, 796 (9th Cir. 1989) ("[T]he district court has broad discretionary power to waive the bond requirement if it sees fit."), vacated on reh'g on other grounds by 929 F.2d 1358 (9th Cir. 1990) (en banc) ("[W]e have held that the district court may permit security other than a bond."); In re Combined Metals Reduction Co., 557 F.2d 179, 193 (9th Cir. 1977) ("Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 62(d), an appellant may obtain a stay as a matter of right by posting a supersedeas bond acceptable to the court. Since no bond was posted, the grant or denial of the stays was a matter strictly within the judge's discretion."); Brooktree Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., 757 F. Supp. 1101, 1104 (S.D. Cal. 1990); Aldasoro v. Kennerson, 915 F. Supp. 188, 191 (S.D. Cal. 1995). An appellant has the burden to "objectively demonstrate" the reasons for departing from the usual requirement of a full supersedeas bond. Poplar Grove Planting & Refining Co. v. Bache Hasley Stuart, Inc., 600 F.2d 1189, 1191 (5th Cir. 1979).
A waiver of the bond requirement may be appropriate where: (1) "the defendant's ability to pay the judgment is so plain that the cost of the bond would be a waste of money"; and (2) "the opposite case, . . . where the requirement would put the defendant's other creditors in undue jeopardy." th Olympia Equip. Leasing Co. v. W. Union Tel. Co., 786 F.2d 794, 796 (7 Cir. 1986); Brooktree Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, 757 F. Supp. 1101, 1104 (S.D. Cal. 1990); Aldasoro v. Kennerson, 915 F. Supp. 188, 191 (S. D. Cal. 1995). When determining whether to waive the superseadas bond, courts have examined the following criteria:
(1) the complexity of the collection process; (2) the amount of time required to obtain a judgment after it is affirmed on appeal; (3) the degree of confidence that the district court has in the availability of funds to pay the judgment; (4) whether the defendant's ability to pay the judgment is so plain that the cost of a bond would be a waste of money; and (5) whether the defendant is in such a precarious financial position that the requirement to post a bond would place other creditors of the defendant in an insecure position.
Dillon v. City of Chicago, 866 F.2d 902, 904-05 (7th Cir. 1988); 12-62 James Wm. Moore et al., Moore's Federal Practice § 62.03 (Matthew Bender 3d ed.); United States v. Boyce, 148 F. Supp. 2d 1069, 1096 (S.D. Cal. 2001) (quoting Dillon, 866 F.2d at 904-05).*fn1