United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER LIFTING STAY
AND GRANTING CHASE'S MOTION FOR COSTS AND
EXPENSES  (ECF NO.
COHN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a commercial dispute. J. P. Morgan Chase (Chase) is the
administrative agent for a group of lenders that extended
credit to Venture Holdings Company, LLC (Venture) under a
credit agreement. In 2008, Chase sued Larry J. Winget
(Winget) and the Larry J. Winget Living Trust (Winget Trust)
to enforce a Guaranty and two Pledge Agreements entered into
by Winget and signed by Winget and the Winget Trust in 2002,
guaranteeing the obligations of Venture. After years of
litigation and multiple appeals, on July 28, 2015, the Court
entered an Amended Judgment in favor of Chase and against
Winget and the Winget Trust that enforced the Guaranty and
Pledge Agreements against Winget and the Winget Trust.
Specifically, the judgment against the Winget Trust was in
the amount of $425, 113.115.59. The judgment against against
Winget was limited to $50 million. (ECF No. 568). The Court
also issued an order awarding Chase $11, 154, 874.65 in
attorney fees and expenses (Fee Order) associated with its
efforts to enforce the Guaranty and Pledge Agreements through
May 31, 2015. (ECF No. Doc. 671).
be explained, this is Chase's third motion for expenses.
The prior two motions were granted. In the current motion,
Chase requests expenses in the amount of $3, 553, 612.22.
Chase says that this amount represents the services of Sidley
Austin LLP and Dickinson Wright PLLC between December 1, 2016
and June 30, 2018. For the reasons that follow, the motion is
Amended Judgment, the Court determined that Winget and the
Trust are liable to Chase for the attorneys' fees and
related expenses incurred in pursuing Chase's rights
under the Guaranty signed by Winget and the Trust. (Doc. 568
at 3; see also Doc. 487-1 at 8-9 (Guaranty).)
previously moved for an award of expenses under Section 17 of
the Guaranty incurred through May 31, 2015. (Doc. 563). The
Court granted the motion in part and awarded Chase $11, 154,
874.65 in expenses (Fee Order) associated with its efforts to
enforce the Guaranty and Pledge Agreements through May 31,
2015. (Doc. 671). Winget and the Winget Trust appealed the
then moved for partial satisfaction of the Amended Judgment,
contending that his payment of $50 million satisfied the Fee
Order (Doc. 672). The Court denied the motion (Satisfaction
Order). (Doc. 683). Winget and the Winget Trust appealed both
the Satisfaction Order and the Fee Order. The Court stayed
proceedings on Chase's motion for expenses pending the
outcome of the appeal. (Doc. 732).
Sixth Circuit affirmed, finding that the Court had properly
interpreted the language of the Guaranty to hold both Winget
and the Winget Trust responsible for the full payment of
costs and expenses correctly held there had been no
“partial satisfaction” of the award of costs and
expenses, and properly determined that the doctrine of res
judicata did not apply. Chase v. Winget, No. 16-2130
(6th Cir. Jul. 21, 2017) (Doc. 735) In light of the Sixth
Circuit's ruling and mandate, on Chase's motion, the
Court lifted the stay. (Doc. 752).
then filed a second motion for expenses incurred since the
issuance of the Fee Order in the amount of $2, 000, 316.24.
Chase said the amount represented the services of Sidley
Austin LLP and Dickinson Wright PLLC between June 1, 2015 and
November 30, 2016. See ECF No. 709. The Court, over
Winget and the Winget Trust's objections, granted the
motion. See ECF No. 773. Winget and the Winget Trust
appealed. The Sixth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of
jurisdiction, i.e. the order was not final. Chase v.
Winget, No. 18-1143 (6th Cir. Apr., 10,
2019). (ECF No. 903.
first argues that the Court should not rule on Chase's
fee petition while appeals are pending. As noted above,
Winget's appeal of Chase's second fee petition was
dismissed, leaving only the appeal relating to the
Court's entry of Charging Orders. Winget contends that
claims that if the Sixth Circuit agrees with him on either of
his appeals, Chase would have no right to an award of fees.
This argument misreads the final judgment and the Guaranty.
Chase is entitled to “all costs and expenses . . .
incurred by Chase in endeavoring to collect the Guaranteed
Obligations from, or in prosecuting this or any related or
future actions against, Winget and the Winget Trust.”
(ECF No. 568 at p. 3). Chase's expenses arising from
post-judgment efforts to collect on the final judgment were
plainly incurred in “endeavoring to collect” the
Guaranteed Obligations awarded in July 2015. See Daws
Excavating, LLC v. Camp Retreats Found., 2018 WL 842900,
at *3 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 13, 2018) (noting that a judgment
creditor “may pursue relief under the [fraudulent
transfer statute] against an asset fraudulently transferred
by the judgment debtor in postjudgment supplementary
collection proceedings. . . .”). The fact that the
current costs and expenses were incurred in prosecuting
counterclaims in a related action brought by Winget himself
is irrelevant, and indeed was expressly contemplated by the
Court by providing that Chase could recover in either the
original or “any related or future proceeding.”
(ECF No. 568 at p. 3.)
the outcome of the Charging Order appeal is not relevant to
Chase's right to recover attorneys' fees arises out
of the Guaranty. Chase's right to damages under the
Guaranty was established and reduced to judgment.
also argues that certain hours are excess and reflect
duplicate work, arguments he presented in response to
Chase's prior fee petitions. As an initial matter, both
prior fee orders were based on hourly rates which the Court
found reasonable. This holding is the law of the case.