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United States v. Hage

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 3, 2018

WAYNE N. HAGE, et al., Defendants.


          Gloria M. Navarro, Chief Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant Wayne N. Hage's (“Hage's”)[1] Motion to Stay Collection of Judgment and Motion for Relief, (ECF No. 497).[2] Plaintiff the United States of America (the “Government”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 498), and Hage failed to file a reply. For the reasons discussed herein, Hage's Motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The instant Motion arises from a judgment entered by the Court in favor of the Government and against Hage, (see ECF Nos. 487, 488). On April 10, 2008, the Government filed its Amended Complaint seeking damages for trespass and injunctive relief against Defendants Hage in his individual capacity, Hage in his capacity as executor of the Estate of E. Wayne Hage, and the Estate of E. Wayne Hage (the “Estate”) (collectively “Defendants”). (ECF No. 37). In the Amended Complaint, the Government avers that since January of 2004, Defendants continuously and unlawfully allowed their cattle to graze on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) and the National Forest System (“NFS”). (Id. ¶¶ 13-21). The case was initially assigned to Judge Robert C. Jones, who held a bench trial in the matter between March 27, 2012, and June 6, 2012. (See ECF Nos. 328-29, 342-61).

         On May 24, 2013, Judge Jones issued Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in which he concluded, inter alia, that Defendants' water rights provided a defense to many of the alleged instances of unlawful trespass. (See Order 101:14-104:23, ECF No. 415). The Clerk of Court thereafter entered judgment in favor of the Government for two instances of trespass, and in favor of Defendants with respect to the remaining instances of alleged trespass. (Clerk's J., ECF No. 416). The Government subsequently appealed the judgment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. (See Notice of Appeal, ECF No. 421); (see also Am. Notice of Appeal, ECF No. 424).

         On appeal, the Ninth Circuit vacated the judgment with regard to the Government's trespass claims. See United States v. Estate of Hage, 810 F.3d 712 (9th Cir. 2016). The Ninth Circuit instructed that the “district court shall enter judgment for the government on all claims supported by the record, shall calculate appropriate damages, and shall enter appropriate injunctive relief.” Id. at 721. On remand, the instant action was reassigned to this Court. (See Minute Order, ECF No. 446).

         On April 7, 2016, the Court ordered the parties to file supplemental briefs addressing whether state or federal law governs the calculation of damages and, based upon that answer, the appropriate method for computing damages owed by Defendants to the Government. (Order on Mandate, ECF No. 452). On April 15, 2016, Defendants filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court seeking review of the Ninth Circuit's decision. See Estate of Hage v. United States, No. 15-1295, 2016 WL 1605072 (Apr. 15, 2016).

         On June 23, 2016, the Court held a status conference, (see ECF No. 472), with the parties during which the Court made the following rulings from the bench. The Court held that liability was limited to Hage in his individual capacity and that the Estate, as well as Hage in his capacity as executor of the Estate, were not liable. (See Status Conference Tr. 49:17-20, ECF No. 473). The Court further granted the Government's request for an injunction “prohibiting defendant from placing or allowing unauthorized livestock to enter or be on public lands administered by the federal government.” (Id. 49:20-25). In addition, the Court stayed entry of judgment pending a dispositive decision by the Supreme Court, and ordered Hage to pay a bond to be calculated based on the number of cattle remaining on federal lands. (Id. 50:1- 8). During the pendency of Hage's appeal to the Supreme Court, Hage paid $20, 462.44 as a bond for the continuing trespass. (See ECF Nos. 480, 484). On October 17, 2016, the United States Supreme Court denied Defendants' petition for certiorari. See Estate of Hage v. United States, 173 S.Ct. 332 (2016).

         On February 27, 2017, the Court vacated Judge Jones' order in its entirety, ordered that judgment be entered in favor of the Government, and concluded that Hage is liable to the Government for damages amounting to $587, 294.28. (Order 11:22-12:2, ECF No. 487). The Court ordered Hage to pay to the Government $555, 040.50 for willful and repeated unauthorized grazing on public lands administered by the BLM; $11, 791.34 to the Government for unauthorized grazing on NFS lands; and $20, 462.44 to the Government that was previously deposited as a bond with the Clerk of Court during Defendants' then-pending appeal to the United States Supreme Court. (Id. 12:3-13:10). The Clerk of Court subsequently entered judgment in favor of the United States, (ECF No. 488). On March 2, 2017, Hage filed a Notice of Appeal, (ECF No. 489). Pursuant to his appeal, Hage filed the instant Motion on January 1, 2018. (ECF No. 497).


         A. Rule 62(d)

         Pursuant to Rule 62(d), the Court may grant a motion to stay the execution on a judgment pending an appeal. Fed.R.Civ.P. 62(d). The movant is entitled to the stay if it furnishes a proper supersedeas bond under Rule 62(d). Bass v. First Pac. Networks, Inc., 219 F.3d 1052, 1055 (9th Cir. 2000). “The bond amount ordinarily includes the full judgment total, costs on the appeal, interest, and any damages for delay.” Branch Banking and Tr. Co. v. Jarrett, No. 3:13-cv-00235-RCJ-VPC, 2014 WL 4636049, at *3 (D. Nev. Sept. 16, 2014). “The purpose of the supersedeas bond is to preserve the status quo while protecting the non-appealing party's rights pending appeal.” Id. (quoting Poplar Grove Planting and Refining Co. v. Bache Halsey Stuart, Inc., 600 F.2d 1189, 1190-91 (5th Cir. 1979)). A movant may be entitled to a waiver of the full bond requirement and a discretionary stay only in extraordinary cases. See Townsend v. Holman Consulting Corp., 929 F.2d 1358, 1367 (9th Cir. 1990). Moreover, the moving party “has the burden of objectively demonstrating to the court the reasons why a full bond should not be required.” Branch Banking and Tr. Co., 2014 WL 4636049, at *3 (citation omitted).

         B. Rule 60(b)(6)

         Under Rule 60(b), a court may relieve a party from a final judgment, order, or proceeding only in the following circumstances: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) fraud; (4) a void judgment; (5) a satisfied or discharged judgment; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the judgment. Backlund v. Barnhart, 778 F.2d 1386, 1387 (9th Cir. 1985). “Relief under Rule 60(b)(6) must be requested within a reasonable time, and is available only under ...

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