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Mario B. Quinones and Mario I. v. Chase Bank Usa

November 22, 2011

MARIO B. QUINONES AND MARIO I.
QUINONES, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CHASE BANK USA, N.A.,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Anthony J. Battaglia U.S. District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE CLERK'S JUDGMENT; GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION; DENYING PLAINTIFF MARIO I'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES [Doc. Nos. 109; 114.]

On October 7, 2011, Defendant Chase Bank filed a motion to vacate Clerk's Judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 59(e), or in the alternative, Rule 60(a), or in the alternative, Rule 60(b); and a motion for reconsideration as to the denial of summary judgment as to counterclaims 1, 3, and 4. On November 1, 2011, Plaintiff filed an opposition. On November 14, 2011, Defendant filed a reply.

In addition, on October 11, 2011, Plaintiff Mario I. filed a motion for attorney's fees. Chase filed an opposition on October 28, 2011. Mario I. filed a reply on November 10, 2011. The motions are submitted on the papers without oral argument, pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). After a review of the briefs, supporting documentation, and applicable law, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion to vacate Clerk's Judgment; GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendant's motion for reconsideration; and DENIES Plaintiff Mario I's motion for attorney's fees.

Background

In the first amended complaint, Plaintiffs Mario B. ("Mario Senior") and Mario I. ("Mario Junior") alleged seven causes of action against Defendant for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), violation of the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("RFDCPA"), negligence, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), and violation of the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act ("CCRAA"). (Dkt. No. 14.) On June 28, 2010, the Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss the first cause of action under the FDCPA. (Dkt. No. 27.)

On October 25, 2010, Defendant Chase filed a first amended counterclaim against Mario I. alleging breach of contract, and money had and received as to two credit card accounts. (Dkt. No. 55.) On November 8, 2010, Mario I. filed an answer to the first amended counterclaim. (Dkt. No. 60.) On the same day, Mario Senior accepted a Rule 68 offer of judgment which was filed with the Court. (Dkt. No. 61.) On November 10, 2010, the Clerk of Court entered judgment "in favor of plaintiff Mario B. Quinones against defendant Chase Bank USA, N.A. in the amount of $1,001.00, plus reasonable attorney fees and costs." (Dkt. No. 62.)

On September 27, 2011, the Court issued an order granting Defendant's amended motion for summary judgment as to Mario I.; denying Defendant's amended motion for summary judgment as to its counterclaims against Mario I. for breach of contract; granting Defendant's amended motion for summary judgment as to its counterclaim against Mario I. for money had and received as to account ending in 6183; denying Defendant's amended motion for summary judgment as to its counterclaim against Mario I. for money had and received as to the account ending in 5520; and granting Defendant's motion to enforce the Rule 68 offer of judgment as to Mario B. (Dkt. No. 106.) On the same day, the Clerk of Court entered judgment based on the order and the case was closed. (Dkt. No. 107.)

Discussion

A. Defendant's Motion to Vacate the Clerk's Judgment

Defendant seeks relief pursuant to Rule 59(e); or in the alternative, Rule 60(a), or in the alternative, Rule 60(b). Plaintiff opposes without providing any legal support. He merely argues that since a Clerk's Judgment was entered pursuant to a Rule 68 offer of judgment while other claims were still pending, the Court should find that the Clerk properly entered judgment this time and that there was no clerical mistake. Plaintiff contends that contrary to Chase's argument, the Clerk of Court entered a judgment based on the Rule 68 offer of judgment.

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), a final judgment may not be issued on less than all claims unless the court determines there is no "just reason for delay." Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). Otherwise, no judgment shall be issued on less than all the claims. Id.; Chacon v. Babcock, 640 F.2d 221, 222 (9th Cir. 1982) (without certification, orders partially granting summary judgment are non-final). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(a), the court "may correct a clerical mistake or a mistake arising from oversight or omission whenever one is found in a judgment, order, or other part of the record." Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(a).

The Court notes that a Rule 68 offer of judgment provides for the entry of judgment by the clerk. Rule 68 provides that once the rule 68 offer has been accepted and filed, "[t]he clerk must then enter judgment." Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(a). Therefore, it was proper for the Clerk of Court to previously enter a judgment in this case on November 10, 2010.

On September 27, 2011, the Court issued an order granting in part and denying in part Defendant's motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 106.) Since the Court denied Defendant's motion for summary judgment as to certain claims, not all causes of action were disposed of in the Court's order. Therefore, the filing of a Clerk's Judgment filed on September 27, 2011 is a clerical mistake and should be vacated. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion to vacate the Clerk's Judgment filed ...


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