United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Kim United States Magistrate Judge.
November 26, 2017, Plaintiff Lisa Gibbons accepted Defendant
Village of Sauk Village's (“the Village”)
offer of judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
68. (R. 161.) Based on this acceptance, this court entered a
final judgment in the case on December 11, 2017. (R. 166.)
Thereafter, Gibbons moved to amend the court's judgment
order and for attorneys' fees and costs, (R. 173), and
the Village moved to amend or correct the judgment order, (R.
174). For the following reasons, Gibbons's motion to
amend the judgment order is granted and the Village's
motion is denied:
2015 Gibbons filed claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e,
et seq., alleging that the Village engaged in
retaliatory termination practices and procedural due process
violations by terminating her employment and then refusing to
rehire her after she engaged in protected activities. On
November 13, 2017, after more than two years of litigation
and shortly before trial was set to begin, the Village
extended an offer of judgment to Gibbons pursuant to Rule 68.
(R. 161.) The terms of the offer were as follows:
1. A judgment in favor of Plaintiff Lisa Gibbons and against
Defendant in the amount of $25, 000 (twenty-five thousand
dollars and zero cents) as to all liability claimed in this
2. Defendant will pay reasonable attorneys' fees and
costs that Plaintiff Lisa Gibbons incurred in this action, to
be determined by the Court upon the filing of a petition
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54 and Local Rule 54.3.
(Id.) The Rule 68 offer further stated,
“[t]his offer is not to be construed in any way as an
admission of liability by the Defendant, but rather is made
solely for the purpose of compromising a disputed
claim.” (Id.) Gibbons accepted the Rule 68
offer two days before trial was scheduled to begin. (R.
December 11, 2017, this court entered judgment ordering:
1. That judgment is entered in favor of Plaintiff and against
Defendant Village of Sauk Village in the total amount of $25,
000, not including attorneys' fees and costs; and
2. That the court shall determine the amount of reasonable
attorneys' fees and costs Defendant must pay to
Plaintiff, as the prevailing party in this case, accrued
through November 13, 2017, upon Plaintiff's petition for
fees and costs.
January 8, 2018, Gibbons moved to amend this judgment order
to reflect that she is entitled to reasonable attorneys'
fees through the date the court rules on her fee petition,
rather than up to the date the Village made the Rule 68
offer. (R. 173.) That same day, the Village moved to amend
the judgment to omit any reference to Gibbons as the
“prevailing party.” (R. 174.) The Village argues
that Gibbons is not the prevailing party and should not be
allowed to recover fees and costs, or alternatively, that the
fee award should reflect what it characterizes as
Gibbons's “limited success” in this case. (R.
181, Def.'s Resp. at 10, 15.)
parties' disagreements reflected in their competing
motions center on three fundamental issues: (1) whether
Gibbons is properly considered the prevailing party in this
case; (2) to the extent that Gibbons is entitled
attorneys' fees, whether she should be awarded those fees
accrued through the date of the offer of judgment or through
the date the court rules on the petition for fees; and (3)