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Mhany Mgmt., Inc. v. Inc. Vill. of Garden City & Garden City Bd. of Trs.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

September 11, 2014

MHANY MANAGEMENT INC., Plaintiff, -and- NEW YORK COMMUNITIES FOR CHANGE, INC., Intervenor-Plaintiff,
v.
INCORPORATED VILLAGE OF GARDEN CITY AND GARDEN CITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES, Defendants

Page 284

For the Plaintiffs: Frederick K. Brewington, Esq., of Counsel, Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington, Hempstead, New York.

For the Plaintiffs: Joseph D. Rich, Esq., Linda H. Mullenbach, Esq., Abigail E. Shafroth, Esq., of Counsel, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, DC.

For Mhany Management Inc., Plaintiff: Stanley J. Brown, Esq., Peter J. Dennin, Esq., Chava Brandriss, Esq., Andrew J. Sein, Esq.he h, Sarah J. Gregory, Esq., Benjamin A. Fleming, Esq., Carol H. Cheng, Esq. Of Counsel, Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP, New York, New York.

For Incorporated Village of Garden City and Garden City Board of Trustees, Defendants: James G. Ryan, Esq., Ariel E. Ronneburger, Esq., Thomas B. Wassel, Esq., Cynthia Ann Augello, Esq., Douglas J. Bohn, Esq., Jennifer A. McLaughlin, Esq., of Counsel, Cullen and Dykman, LLP, Garden City, NY.

For Incorporated Village of Garden City and Garden City Board of Trustees, Defendants: Michael A. Carvin, Esq., Of Counsel, Jones Day, Washington, D.C.

Page 285

SHORT ORDER

ARTHUR D. SPATT, United States District Judge.

Familiarity with the procedural and factual history of this case is presumed. By way of background, by Memorandum of Decision and Order dated December 6, 2013, the Court found, after a bench trial, tat the Plaintiff MHANY Management, Inc. and Plaintiff-Intervenor New York Communities for Change, Inc. (collectively the " Plaintiffs" ) established the liability of the Defendants the Incorporated Village of Garden City and the Garden City Board of Trustees (" Garden City" ) under (1) the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq. (the " FHA" ), based on theories of both disparate intent and disparate impact; (2) 42 U.S.C. § 1981; (3) 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and (4) the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

A " Final Judgment" containing various forms of injunctive relief against the Defendants was entered on April 22, 2014. As part of the Final Judgment and under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (" Fed. R. Civ. P." ) 54(d)(2)(B), the Plaintiffs were given fourteen days from the date of the judgment to file an application for attorneys' fees and costs. Following a court-approved extension of this deadline, on May 15, 2014, the Plaintiffs filed a motion for attorneys' fees and costs, seeking over $5.6 million in total.

In the interim, on May 5, 2014, Garden City filed an appeal of the Final Judgment (the " Garden City Merits Appeal" ) to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Garden City Merits Appeal is pending. Also pending before the Second Circuit is an appeal by the Plaintiffs of that part of the Final Judgment dismissing the Defendant County of Nassau from this action.

On July 2, 2014, Garden City opposed the motion for attorneys' fees and separately moved pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(2)(B) to defer a ruling on the Plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees until after the Second Circuit renders a decision on the Garden City Merits Appeal.

" Where the losing party takes an appeal on the merits of case, the district court has the discretion to defer ruling on the prevailing party's motion for attorney's fees." Gill v. Bausch & Lomb Supplemental Ret. Income Plan I, 6:09-CV-6043 (MAT), 2014 WL 1404902, at *1 (W.D.N.Y. Apr. 10, 2014)(citing 1993 Advisory Committee Notes to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(stating that " if an appeal on the merits of the case is taken, the [district] court may rule on the claim for fees, may defer its ruling on the motion, or may deny the motion without prejudice directing under subdivision (d)(2)(B) [of Rule 54] a new period for filing after the appeal has been resolved" )).

Here, the Court notes that a Second Circuit reversal of that part of the Final Judgment finding Garden City liable would moot the Plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees because the Plaintiffs would no longer be " prevailing part[ies]" entitled to such fees under 42 U.S.C. § 3613(c)(2) and 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b). In other words, " deferring a ruling on [the P]laintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees until the Second Circuit resolves [the Garden City Merits A]ppeal ensures that the Court only has to address the motion for attorneys' fees by the party that ultimately prevails." Doe ex rel. Doe v. E. Lyme Bd. of Educ., 3:11 CV 291 (JBA), 2014 WL 4370504, at *2 (D. Conn. Sept. 2, 2014)(citing Gill, 2014 WL 1404902, ...


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