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Supreme Court Confirms That Merits Decisions Are Final and Appealable Even When Contractual Fees Remain Unresolved

by Bruce P. Merenstein
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP - Philadelphia Office

Monica C. Platt
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP - Philadelphia Office

Christopher A. Reese
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP - Philadelphia Office

February 5, 2014

Previously published on January 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court has provided much-needed clarity and uniformity on the issue of whether contractual attorney’s fees are a part of a merits decision for the purposes of determining timeliness of a federal appeal. Ray Haluch Gravel Co. v. Central Pension Fund of International Union of Operating Engineers and Participating Employers, No. 12-992 (Jan. 15, 2014). The Court reaffirmed its earlier holding in Budinich v. Becton Dickinson & Co., 486 U.S. 196 (1988), that an unresolved application for attorney’s fees does not prevent a judgment on the merits from being considered final for purposes of the 30-day deadline to file a notice of appeal under Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Moreover, the Haluch Gravel decision makes clear that neither the source of a fee claim nor the fact that other fees (such as expert fees) are included in a fee request alters the time for filing an appeal from a decision on the merits.


The views expressed in this document are solely the views of the author and not Martindale-Hubbell. This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.

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