- Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
- Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
- Date Filed: June 17, 2013
- Case #: 12-992
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, 695 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2012)
Respondent ordered audits of Petitioner’s books, and sued Petitioner for remittances of past unreported work and attorney’s fees. The lower court ruled in favor of Respondent for remittances, and then a week later ruled in favor of Respondent for attorney’s fees. Respondent appealed both rulings within thirty days of the second ruling, but more than thirty days after the first ruling. The Court of Appeals examined whether the first decision on remittances was final, making it not appealable. The court held that Respondent's appeal was timely because the first decision was not final until the lower court had decided on attorney’s fees. Specifically the court held that because attorney’s fees are contractual, rather than statutory, the attorney’s fees are part of the merits.
Petitioner relied on Budinich v. Becton Dickinson & Co., 486 U.S. 196 (1988), in their petition to the United States Supreme Court. In Budinich, the court held that an appeal was untimely because the appeal was filed after thirty days of the ruling, but less than thirty days after the ruling on attorney’s fees. In addition, Petitioner relies on prior case law from the Second, Fifth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, which also followed the Budinich holding. Petitioner alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in creating a different standard for contractual fee awards versus statutory fee awards. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether a district court’s decision that does not resolve a request for contractual attorney’s fees is a final decision under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, which provides that courts of appeals have jurisdiction of appeals from final decisions of the district courts.