Unpublished Disposition, 923 F.2d 862 (9th Cir. 1989)Annotate this Case
Pamila LA LONDE, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.Allan Y. DAVIS and Mayumi D. Davis, Defendants-Appellants.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted Nov. 16, 1990.* Decided Jan. 24, 1991.
Before JAMES R. BROWNING, BEEZER and RYMER, Circuit Judges.
Allan and Mayumi Davis appeal the District Court of Guam, Appellate Division's award of costs and attorneys' fees on appeal. We affirm.
* On June 7, 1988, the United States District Court for the District of Guam, Appellate Division, affirmed a decision ordering the Davises to perform the terms of a real estate contract entered into with La Londe and to pay La Londe damages for breach of the contract. The court also affirmed an award of attorneys' fees on the authority of the contract, which provided for fees and costs to be paid to the prevailing party in a suit concerning the premises. [E.R. 27 at 10] On the same ground, the Appellate Division awarded La Londe costs and attorneys' fees on the appeal, and ordered La Londe to submit an affidavit describing the costs and fees incurred. On July 6, 1988, Davis appealed the underlying contract claims to this court.
On July 13, 1988, La Londe filed affidavits describing her costs and fees. On July 18 the parties filed a stipulated security agreement that provided, inter alia, that "the opinion of the District Court of Guam, Appellate Division, in this matter should be stayed pending resolution of the appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit." [E.R. 32 at 2] This court affirmed the Appellate Division on July 12, 1989, and on October 6, 1989, the Appellate Division ordered the Davises to file any objections to the affidavits in support of costs and fees.
On December 14, 1989, the Appellate Division ordered the Davises to pay $6,618.00. In its order, the court addressed the Davises contention that La Londe's request for attorneys' fees was not timely, stating that " [b]oth parties stipulated inter alia to staying the Opinion pending the issuance of an Opinion by the Ninth Circuit." [E.R. 44 at 1] The Davises appeal the award of attorneys' fees.
Rule 18 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure for the District Court of Guam states:
An original and three (3) copies of the request for attorney's fees shall be filed with the Clerk, with proof of service, within thirty (30) days after the entry of this Court's decision.
R.App.P.D.C.Guam 18(b) (1987). The Davises argue that La Londe's affidavits were filed six days late because the Appellate Division's opinion was filed on June 7, 1988, and the affidavits were not filed until July 13, 1988.
Both parties discuss the power of the Appellate Division to depart from its local rules.1 However, the Appellate Division did not extend the thirty-day limitation period. Rather, it appears to have found that the stipulation caused the period to be tolled until this court disposed of the appeal and the affidavits were therefore timely filed. This finding is not clearly erroneous. Cf. Guam Sasaki Corp. v. Diana's, Inc., 881 F.2d 713, 716 (9th Cir. 1989) ("It was not unreasonable for the Appellate Division to construe its [order staying time for filing until resolution of lower court proceedings] as postponing for a specific period the deadline for [the defendant] to file...."). Furthermore, this result does not prejudice the Davises because they were aware that they would be liable for costs and attorneys' fees, and should have had some idea of the general magnitude of the award, from June 12, 1988, when the Appellate Division awarded costs and fees on appeal.
The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); Ninth Circuit Rule 34-4
This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by Ninth Cir.R. 36-3
District courts have "broad discretion in interpreting and applying their local rules," and in determining "what departures from statutory prescription or rules of court are so slight and unimportant that the sensible treatment is to overlook them." Guam Sasaki Corp. v. Diana's Inc., 881 F.2d 713, 715, 718 (9th Cir. 1989) (quotations omitted). However, Rules 2 and 12 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure for the District Court of Guam expressly prohibit the district court from enlarging time limitations sua sponte. Rule 12(b) provides:
The District Court for good cause may upon motion enlarge the time prescribed by these rules....
R.App.P.D.C. Guam 12(b) (1987) (emphasis added). Rule 2 provides that
[i]n the interest of justice or of expediting a decision or for other good cause shown, the District Court may, except as otherwise provided in Rule 12(b) of these Rules, suspend the requirements of provisions of any of these rules in a particular case....
Id. Rule 2 (emphasis added).