UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, EASTERN DIVISION
September 5, 1990
In re OIL SPILL BY THE "AMOCO CADIZ" OFF THE COAST OF FRANCE ON MARCH 16, 1978
The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORGLE
CHARLES R. NORGLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Before the court are the motions of the Amoco Parties
(collectively "Amoco"), the Republic of France ("France"), and Astilleros Espanoles ("Astilleros") to stay execution of their respective judgments pending appeal. For the reasons discussed below, Amoco and France are each granted a stay without bond and Astilleros is denied a stay without bond. The court will deal with each motion in turn.
Rule 62(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure enables an appellant to obtain an automatic stay of execution of judgment pending appeal by posting a supersedeas bond. However, the district court, in its discretion, may waive the bond requirement. Dillon v. City of Chicago, 866 F.2d 902, 904 (7th Cir. 1988); United States v. Tit's Cocktail Lounge, 873 F.2d 141 (7th Cir. 1989). There are five factors which a district court may consider in determining whether to waive the posting of bond:
(1) the complexity of the collection process;
(2) the amount of time required to obtain a judgment after it is affirmed on appeal;
(3) the degree of confidence that the district court has in the availability of funds to pay the judgment;
(4) whether the defendant's ability to pay the judgment is so plain that the cost of a bond would be a waste of money; and
(5) whether the defendant is in such a precarious financial situation that the requirement to post a bond would place other creditors of the defendant in an insecure position.
Dillon at 904-905.
In applying the above factors to the Amoco's motion, the court finds that Amoco is not required to post bond to obtain a stay of the execution of the judgments against it. Amoco's assets total $ 30.4 billion, its shareholders' equity exceeds $ 13.6 billion, and its 1989 revenues exceeded $ 26.7 billion. In the first quarter of 1990 alone, Amoco earned over $ 7 billion -- more than 42 times the amount of its total judgment liability. Its net income for that quarter was almost 3 times the amount of this liability. In light of these figures, the financial stability of the Amoco
and its ability to pay the judgments are beyond serious doubt.
In addition, it is not disputed that much of Amoco's assets are located in this country, within the reach of its judgment creditors.
The plaintiffs present no arguments regarding the complexity of the collection process or the amount of time required to obtain a judgment after it is affirmed on appeal. Therefore, all factors on which arguments have been presented weigh in favor of granting Amoco's motion.
Similarly, the court finds that there are ample grounds for waiving the bond requirement as to France. There can be no doubt that France is financially stable and has sufficient funds, both in the United States and abroad, to pay its $ 35,862.52 judgment to Amoco. Further, France presently has a judgment for more than $ 100 million in this action against Amoco, against which the $ 35,862.52 can be offset. Thus, the court finds that there are sufficient reasons to waive the requirement that France post a bond to secure its stay.
By contrast, the court finds that Astilleros has not provided sufficient grounds for waiving bond in its case. Unlike Amoco and France, Astilleros wholly failed even to address the Dillon factors, and has made no effort to show that it either has funds available to pay the judgments against it or is in a financially stable condition. Instead, Astilleros devotes much of its brief to a rambling discourse on due process into which it weaves its never-ending arguments on personal jurisdiction. However, Astilleros has argued and lost its personal jurisdiction defense both in this court and in the Seventh Circuit. See In re Oil Spill by the Amoco Cadiz off the Coast of France on March 16, 1978, 699 F.2d 909 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 864, 104 S. Ct. 196, 78 L. Ed. 2d 172(1983). Having thereafter declined to participate in the proceedings on merits of this case, Astilleros will not now be heard to claim lack of due process. Upon posting bond, Astilleros can prevent its judgment creditors from executing judgment while it appeals the personal jurisdiction for a second time. Astilleros has made no effort to demonstrate that it is financially unable to post a bond. Thus, Astilleros has failed to meet its burden as movant in establishing grounds for waiving bond.
On the other hand, there are good reasons for requiring Astilleros to post bond here. If Astilleros' briefs establish anything, it is that Astilleros has no intention of recognizing this court's judgments against it. Far from assuring the court that it will pay the judgments, Astilleros has given this court the impression that it will not recognize this court's jurisdiction -- even if it loses on appeal. Further, by its own admission, Astilleros has no assets in this country or anywhere within reach of this court which could be used to satisfy the judgments against it, should those judgments be affirmed on appeal. For these reasons, the court holds that Astilleros is denied a stay without bond.
IT IS SO ORDERED.