United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
A. BRADY JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Request for
Entry of Judgment (ECF No. 90), filed on July 19, 2019 (the
“Request”). The Request, which seeks the entry of
judgment in favor of the Defendant pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 58(d), follows this Court's Opinion
and Order granting Defendant's Second Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 88). That Opinion and Order also set a
briefing schedule on Defendant's entitlement to attorney
fees under 17 U.S.C. § 505 (ECF No. 88 at 37-38). The
intent of the Court was to enter a single judgment
encompassing the liability determination in the Order and
Opinion as well as the determination of the attorney fee
issue. Not content to wait until the attorney fee issue is
decided, Plaintiff filed the Request as well as a Notice of
Appeal (ECF No. 91) and a Docketing Statement (ECF No. 92) on
July 19, 2019. Having reviewed the Request, this Court
concludes that judicial economy supports this case proceeding
to appeal all at once, rather than through a piecemeal
approach advocated by Plaintiff. Accordingly, the Request
will be denied.
requires that, in most cases, judgment “must be set out
in a separate document.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 58(a). The sole
purpose of the Rule is to “clarify when the time for
appeal . . . begins to run.” Bankers Trust Co. v.
Mallis, 435 U.S. 381, 385 (1978). Subpart (d), upon
which the Request is made, permits a party to request
“that judgment be set out in a separate document as
required by Rule 58(a)” Fed.R.Civ.P. 58(d). Where the
district court action contains a claim for attorney fees,
subpart (e) provides:
(e) Cost or Fee Awards. Ordinarily, the
entry of judgment may not be delayed, nor the time for appeal
extended, in order to tax costs or award fees. But if a
timely motion for attorney's fees is made under Rule
54(d)(2), the court may act before a notice of appeal has
been filed and become effective to order that the motion have
the same effect under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure
4(a)(4) as a timely motion under Rule 59.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 58(e).
the Court assumes that Defendant will seek fees as permitted
in the Opinion and Order, the Request is largely pointless.
As it stands, the Court is delaying the finality of any
judgment in this case because it has determined that it will
be more efficient to decide fee questions before an appeal is
taken so that the appeal relating to the fee award can be
heard at the same time as the appeal relating to the merits
of the case. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 58 advisory
committee's note to 1993 amendment. Once briefing on the
fee issue is concluded, the Court will enter a final judgment
resolving both the merits of the case and the fee issue. At
that point, Plaintiff would have a final appealable judgment
under Fed. R. App. 4(a)(1)(A) encompassing all issues in this
time frame doesn't change if the Request is granted. If a
judgment on the merits of the case were entered today,
Defendant would have fourteen (14) days within which to
request an award of attorney fees. Fed.R.Civ.P.
54(d)(2)(B)(i). Defendant's brief on fees is currently
due on July 24, 2019, so it must be filed within that
deadline. Upon the filing of Defendant's brief, the Court
could, and would, treat the request as a timely motion under
Rule 59 to alter or amend the judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 58(e).
Under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(4)(A)(iii) and
4(a)(4)(B)(i), Plaintiff's Notice of Appeal would not
become effective until Defendant's request for fees was
ruled upon. At that point, Plaintiff would have a final
appealable judgment under Fed. R. App. 4(a)(1)(A)
encompassing all issues in this case. In either case, then,
Plaintiff will not be permitted to pursue its appeal until
the fee issue is resolved.
the Request would force this Court to enter a judgment, an
order deeming Defendant's request for fees a Rule 59
motion to alter or amend, a ruling on the fee request, and
then an amended judgment. Denying the Request requires only a
ruling on Defendant's fee request and a judgment. Since
the timing of the appeal is the same either way, this Court
will adopt the course that is most efficient and will deny
foregoing reasons, the Request (ECF No. 90) is DENIED.
 Although Plaintiff has filed a Notice
of Appeal, that Notice is not yet effective because there has
been no entry of ...