United States District Court, E.D. California
found defendants Sacramento County and three county officials
sued in their individual capacities liable for more than $100
million based on multiple constitutional violations.
Defendants have appealed the judgment and two related
motions, and request that the court stay enforcement of the
judgment against them pending the resolution of their appeal.
For the following reasons, the court GRANTS defendants'
motion to stay in part, but DENIES the County's request
that the court waive the supersedeas bond requirement. To
effectuate the stay, the County will be required to post a
bond of 50 percent of the judgment.
lengthy jury trial, the Hardesty and Schneider plaintiffs
obtained a verdict exceeding $100 million against defendant
Sacramento County and three county officials sued in their
individual capacities. The case revolved around
defendants' actions leading to the closure of the
Hardestys' sand and gravel mine, which the jury found
violated plaintiffs' constitutional rights under the
First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
the jury found the County, but not the individual defendants,
violated plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment procedural due
process rights, and awarded nominal damages of $1 to each set
of plaintiffs on these claims. Jury Verdict, ECF No. 469 at
2-3. The jury found all defendants violated plaintiffs'
Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights and
awarded $75 million to the Hardestys and $30 million to the
Schneiders. Id. at 4-5. The jury found the County
violated the Schneiders' First Amendment right to
petition the government for redress and awarded them $30, 000
on this claim. Id. at 6. The jury also awarded
punitive damages in connection with the plaintiffs'
substantive due process claims in the following amounts: $25,
000 against defendant Dickinson, $1 million against defendant
Gamel, and $750, 000 against defendant Sherry. Id.
trial, defendants filed a renewed motion for judgment as a
matter of law, ECF No. 537, and a motion for a new trial, ECF
No. 538, both of which the court denied, Order, ECF No. 559.
Defendants have appealed the judgment, the court's order
denying the renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law,
and the court's order denying defendant's motion for
a new trial. Notices of Appeal, ECF Nos. 565-66. On
July 23, 2018, the County filed a motion to stay enforcement
of the monetary judgment against it, joined by the other
defendants. Motion for Stay (“Motion”), ECF No.
586; see also Joinder, ECF No. 587. The County
argues the court should grant a stay of enforcement and waive
the supersedeas bond requirement. Mot. at 5. The individual
defendants also argue that, in the event the County is
required to post a bond, they should not be required to post
a separate bond. Joinder at 1.
first contend they are entitled to an automatic stay of the
judgment without the posting of a supersedeas bond under
California Code of Civil Procedure § 995.220(b). Mot. at
5. In the alternative, they argue that Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure Rule 69(a)(1) applies, which requires the court to
follow state law on the subject, in which case California law
entitles them to an automatic stay of the judgment without a
supersedeas bond. Id. If the court declines to apply
either the California law or Rule 69, defendants argue the
court should order an unsecured stay or a stay secured by a
reduced bond amount reflecting the County's financial
ability to pay the judgment. Id. Plaintiffs
challenge each of defendants' contentions, arguing that
Federal Civil Procedure Rule 62 applies and a bond equaling
125 percent of the judgment should be required under the
local rules of this court. See Pls.' Mem. in
Opp'n to Mot. for Stay (“Opp'n”), ECF No.
591 at 1-2.
Federal vs. State Law
argument that California law should apply to the instant
motion is unavailing. Under California law, a municipality is
entitled to a stay of enforcement of a money judgment pending
appeal without having to provide a bond or other security.
Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 995.220(b) (“[T]he
following public entities . . . are not required to give the
bond and shall have the same rights, remedies, and benefits
as if the bond were given . . . (b) A county . . . .”).
However, California Civil Procedure Code section 995.220(b)
is a procedural rule, so it does not apply in federal court
when a federal rule is on point. Vacation Vill., Inc. v.
Clark Cty., Nev., 497 F.3d 902, 913-14 (9th Cir. 2007)
(applying Fed.R.Civ.P. 62(d) rather than the state statute
governing appeals procedure because supersedeas bond
requirement is procedural); see also In re Hassan Imports
P'ship, 2013 WL 6384649, at *1 (C.D. Cal. 2013)
(“Cal. Code P. § 995.220 is preempted by
Fed.R.Civ.P. 62, which sets forth the procedures governing
supersedeas bonds in federal court.”) (citation
this conclusion, defendants argue that, even if federal law
applies, Rule 69 controls, which directs the court to follow
state law on the subject. Mot. at 8-9. Rule 69(a)(1)
Money Judgment; Applicable Procedure. A money judgment is
enforced by a writ of execution, unless the court directs
otherwise. The procedure on executions-and in proceedings
supplementary to and in aid of judgment or execution-must
accord with the procedure of the state where the court is
located, but a federal statute governs to the extent it
Fed. R. Civ. P. 69(a)(1). As the Ninth Circuit has explained,
Rule 69 “governs procedure on execution of a judgment
and, for the most part, directs the district court to look at
state rules.” Office Depot Inc. v. Zuccarini,
596 F.3d 696, 700 (9th Cir. 2010). In the case of
Leuzinger v. Cty. of Lake, a sister court has
explained, “[W]hile Rule 69 provides the
process for execution . . . Rule 62
provides the process for post-judgment
stays.” 253 F.R.D. 469, 475 (N.D. Cal. 2008)
(emphasis in original); Vacation Vill., Inc., 497
F.3d at 914 (applying Rule 62 rather than state law because
“[t]he County's monetary obligations on appeal is a
situation ‘covered by' Rule 62(d)” (quoting
Hanna v. Plumer, 380 U.S. 460, 471-72 (1965)).
Because the instant motion requests a post-judgment stay,
Rule 62 provides the applicable procedural rules.
Leuzinger, 253 F.R.D. at 475.
62(b) allows an appellant to stay execution of a judgment
pending appeal by posting a supersedeas bond. Fed.R.Civ.P.
62(b); Vacation Vill., Inc., 497 F.3d at 914
(“Rule 62(d) [now Rule 62(b)] is a purely procedural
mechanism to preserve the status quo during a stay pending
appeal of a district court decision . . . ...