Steiner v. Lewmar, Inc., No. 14-3817 (2d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
This appeal stemmed from a dispute regarding a contract the parties entered into, which gave Lewmar the exclusive right to manufacture and sell Steinerʹs patented sailboat winch handle, a device used to control the lines and sails of a sailboat. The parties resolved the dispute when Lewmar made, and Steiner accepted, an offer of judgment under Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. After judgment was entered, Steiner moved for attorneysʹ fees of $383,804 and costs of $41,470. The district court denied attorneysʹ fees but awarded costs of $2,926. The court concluded that Steiner was precluded from seeking fees pursuant to the Agreement in addition to the $175,000 settlement amount because claims under the Agreement were unambiguously included in the Offer; Steiner was not precluded from seeking attorneysʹ fees under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42‐110g(d), because the Offer did not unambiguously encompass claims for attorneysʹ fees under CUTPA; and the court remanded for the district court to clarify whether it considered the claim for attorneys' fees under CUTPA on the merits and if not, to do so. Finally, the court concluded that the district court correctly added costs under the ʺcosts then accruedʺ provision of Rule 68.