United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Yim You, United States Magistrate Judge
the court is plaintiff Sandra Quesnoy's Motion for
Supplemental Award of Attorney's Fees and Award of
Additional Interest. For the reasons set forth below,
plaintiff's motion is granted in the amount of $112,
suffered a violation of her civil rights while incarcerated
for a property crime at Coffee Creek Correctional Institution
in 2009. She attained partial victory at trial in February
2012 on claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans
with Disabilities Act, and Oregon disability laws, and the
jury awarded her $50, 000. Judgment, ECF #120. The court then
awarded plaintiff's attorney, Katelyn S. Oldham (Oldham),
$121, 970.20 in attorney's fees and costs, compensating
Oldham at an hourly rate of $275 per hour. Opinion and Order
16, 21, ECF #136; Supplemental Judgment, ECF #137.
plaintiff owed the State of Oregon substantial restitution on
her criminal conviction, the Oregon Department of Revenue
(ODR) filed a writ of garnishment for the Judgment. ODR also
issued a writ of garnishment for the Supplemental Judgment,
against Oldham's objection. Oldham filed a notice of
attorney-fee lien with this court and challenged both writs
through a state administrative proceeding.
administrative law judge (ALJ) rejected plaintiff's
challenges and entered a Final Order in ODR's favor.
Plaintiff appealed the Final Order to the Oregon Court of
Appeals. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the
Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) filed amicus briefs
in her support. Several months later, the ALJ sua sponte
withdrew the Final Order. The ALJ thereafter issued a Final
Order on Reconsideration, finding that the prior order was
partly in error and that ODR's attempt to garnish the
Supplemental Judgment violated the Supremacy Clause of the
United States Constitution.
continued to challenge the garnishment against the Judgment
in the Oregon Court of Appeals. On June 28, 2017, the Oregon
Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Quesnoy v.
Department of Revenue, 286 Or.App. 359 (2017), affirming
September 2017, plaintiff filed a fee petition and bill of
costs with the Oregon Court of Appeals seeking attorney's
fees and costs related to the garnishment of the Supplemental
Judgment. She also filed a “Motion to Reopen Case to
File Supplemental Fee Petition and Cost Bill and to Address
Interest Rate Owed” in this case. ECF #140. The state
filed an opposition to the fee petition, asserting that no
statutory or other legal basis allowed for such an award. On
February 22, 2018, the Oregon Court of Appeals denied
plaintiff's request for attorney's fees.
court granted plaintiff's motion and re-opened this case
in May 2018, finding that an award for attorney's fees
expended in collecting a judgment for fees awarded under
§ 1983 was proper. Order 5-6, ECF #150; see also
Spain v. Mountanos, 690 F.2d 742, 746 (9th Cir.
1982) (“We agree with the Fifth Circuit that a state
cannot frustrate the intent of section 1988 by setting up
state law barriers to block enforcement of an attorney's
fees award.”). As this court previously held, time
spent by counsel in establishing the right to attorneys'
fees is compensable. See Order 5-7, ECF #150. Plaintiff
subsequently filed a supplemental fee petition relating to
recovery of the Supplemental Judgment and seeking additional
interest for the time that ODR withheld the Supplemental
Judgment. ECF #153.
Postjudgment Interest on the Supplemental Judgment
remitted $121, 970.20, the entirety of the Supplemental
Judgment, and $2, 895.48 in interest,  on April 3, 2014,
728 days after the court awarded the Supplemental Judgment.
Plaintiff claims she is owed additional interest for the
nearly two-year delay. Defendants agree, but dispute which
interest rate applies. Plaintiff argues that the Oregon state
law interest rate of 9% applies and that she is owed an
additional $18, 995.48. See ORS 82.010(2). Alternatively, she
argues that if the federal interest rate of 1.8% applies,
then she is still owed an additional $1, 483.42.
contends that the state interest rate applies because (1) ODR
initiated garnishment under state laws and procedures and no
federal court was involved in those proceedings, and (2) the
nature of the garnishment is congruent with cases analyzing
interest under ORS 80.010(1)(a), (b). These arguments are
federal law, “[i]nterest shall be allowed on any money
judgment in a civil case recovered in a district court. . . .
Such interest shall be calculated from the date of the entry
of the judgment, at a rate equal to the weekly average 1-year
constant maturity Treasury yield . . . for the calendar week
preceding.” 28 U.S.C. § 1961(a) (emphasis added).
“Interest shall be computed daily ...