Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. Clemens Coal Co.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

October 19, 2017

THE CLEMENS COAL COMPANY, et al., Defendants.


          CARLOS MURGUIA United States District Judge.

         This case involves a dispute over whether a worker's compensation insurance policy (“the Policy”) provided by plaintiff Liberty Mutual (“plaintiff”) to former defendant Clemens Coal Company included coverage of a black lung disease claim (“the Spencer Black Lung Claim”) filed by former defendant Clayton Spencer. Dennis Woolman (“defendant”), former president of Clemens Coal, eventually became the sole remaining defendant in this case.

         After a bench trial, this court granted declaratory judgment in favor of plaintiff. The judgment declared that “the plain language of the Policy, as written, unambiguously does not provide coverage for the Spencer Black Lung Claim.” (Doc. 154, at 22.) The court also rejected defendant's estoppel defense, (id.), and granted judgment as a matter of law to plaintiff on defendant's negligence counterclaim after a jury had found for defendant on that counterclaim, (doc. 153, at 4).

         Defendant filed a motion “for stay of judgment pending post-trial motions and, if necessary, an appeal.” (Doc. 159.) Defendant has not filed a notice of appeal from any of this court's judgments. For reasons discussed below, the court denies defendant's motion.

         Defendant seeks a stay of execution pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 62. “Rule 62, read in its entirety, reflects the federal policy of providing a judgment creditor with security during the pendency of an appeal.” Afrika v. New York, No. 12-CV-0537MAT, 2014 WL 1347762, at *2 (W.D.N.Y. Apr. 4, 2014) (citing Herbert v. Exxon Corp., 953 F.2d 936, 938 (5th Cir. 1993); Miami Int'l Realty Co. v. Paynter, 807 F.2d 871, 873 (10th Cir. 1986)). “Courts have traditionally restricted application of Rule 62” to stays from money judgments. Afrika, 2014 WL 1347762, at *2 (citing Herbert, 953 F.2d at 938).

         It is not clear which subsection of Rule 62 defendant seeks to invoke, but he refers to Rule 62(b) throughout his motion. Despite referring to subsection (b), defendant also uses language reflective of the standards for subsections (c) and (d). The court therefore looks at each subsection to determine whether it entitles defendant to relief.

         Applicability of Rule 62(b)

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 62(b) reads, “On appropriate terms for the opposing party's security, the court may stay the execution of a judgment-or any proceedings to enforce it-pending disposition of” motions under Rules 50, 52(b), 59, or 60. “The conditional ‘may'” in this rule refers to the court's discretion in granting a stay, “not to the requirement of security.” Boardwalk Apartments, L.C. v. State Auto Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., No. 11-2714-JAR, 2015 WL 265040, at *1 (D. Kan. Jan. 21, 2015). The purpose of Rule 62(b) is “to preserve the status quo while protecting the prevailing party's interest in the judgment, ” and thus “courts typically require security in the full amount of the judgment.” Gen. Steel Domestic Sales, LLC v. Chumley, No. 10-CV-01398-PAB-KLM, 2013 WL 2634640, at *1 (D. Colo. June 12, 2013). Rule 62(b) applies only to enforcement of a judgment. Underwood v. B-E Holdings, Inc., 269 F.Supp.2d 125, 143 n.3 (W.D.N.Y. 2003) (holding that movants could not invoke Rule 62(b) where judgment had been stricken so that jury verdict could be readjusted according to New York's structured judgment statute).

         Although case law is sparse addressing Rule 62(b) outside of the damages award context, other courts have held that Rule 62(b) is inapplicable where the judgment at issue is neither monetary nor injunctive. Smith v. Dell, Inc., No. 06-2496-B/V, 2007 WL 3232037, at *1 (W.D. Tenn. Oct. 31, 2007) (finding Rule 62(b) not applicable to a judgment of dismissal because “no monetary or injunctive relief has issued”); see also Afrika, 2014 WL 1347762, at *2 (holding Rule 62(b) inapplicable in the context of a judgment rendered in a federal habeas corpus proceeding).

         Rule 62(b) does not apply in this case. The plain language of Rule 62(b) shows that the rule governs stays of “execution of a judgment-or any proceedings to enforce it, ” as opposed to the effectiveness of judgments themselves. Here, the court's judgments require no execution or enforcement proceedings to become fully effective. The parties' rights and obligations under the Policy are what the declaratory judgment states. The judgment as a matter of law this court granted on defendant's negligence counterclaim is effective without the need for execution or enforcement proceedings. Defendant's estoppel defense is rejected; plaintiff need not go through additional proceedings to execute or enforce this denial. In short, these judgments became effective at the moment this court issued them, and thus they are beyond the scope of Rule 62(b).

         Applicability of Rule 62(c)

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 62(c) states, “While an appeal is pending from an interlocutory order or final judgment that grants, dissolves, or denies an injunction, the court may suspend, modify, restore, or grant an injunction on terms for bond or other terms that secure the opposing party's rights.” Defendant has not explicitly invoked Rule 62(c), but both sides addressed the four-factor test (discussed in more detail below) typically applied under the rule. The court therefore addresses Rule 62(c)'s applicability to this case.

         The plain language of Rule 62(c) indicates that a court may issue a stay under this rule only while an appeal is pending and only if the order or judgment appealed from is an injunction. Here, defendant has not filed a notice of appeal. Moreover, the court's judgments were not injunctions. Instead, this court declared the rights of parties to a contract, granted judgment as a matter of law on a negligence counterclaim, and rejected an estoppel defense. The plain meaning of Rule 62(c) indicates that it does not apply in this case.

         Applicability ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.