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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.


 

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Author
 
Bruce P. Merenstein
Monica C. Platt
Christopher A. Reese
Practice Area
 
Appellate Practice
 
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