Argument Preview

One case being argued next week involves Keith Manufacturing Co. (“Keith”) and Larry Butterfield (“Butterfield”). This case presents the issue of whether a “stipulated dismissal with prejudice functions as a ‘judgment’ under Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(a), allowing the defendant to move for an award of attorney’s fees.”

Shawn Kolitch of Kolitch Romano LLP will argue on behalf of Butterfield, who is the appellant. The case addresses the breadth of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Microsoft v. Baker, which held that “voluntary dismissal by stipulation of a class action suit is not a ‘final decision’” that would transform a tentative interlocutory order into “a final judgment subject to immediate appellate review.” Highlighting the importance of the issue, Butterfield’s opening brief suggests that “treating the stipulated dismissal with prejudice in the present case as a judgment for purposes of allowing Butterfield to recover attorney’s fees does not interfere with the final judgment rule, does not bypass any rule or statute, and does not create one-sidedness favoring either party.”

Bruce Kaser of Vantage Law PLLC will argue on behalf of Keith. Keith’s brief argues that Butterfield “does not point to a decree, order, or judgment that he can appeal from so as to meet the literal language of Rule 54.” Kieth’s brief also argues that, “assuming Butterfield’s stipulation did qualify as an appealable order,” federal law demands that “Butterfield is not a prevailing party.”

Butterfield did not file a reply brief.