United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO
DISMISS AND DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND
N. Parrish, United States District Court Judge.
the court are two motions: (1) defendant Bonneville Billing
& Collections, Inc.'s (Bonneville) motion to dismiss
the complaint, [Docket 26] and (2) plaintiff Karen
Blacker's motion for leave to amend the complaint,
[Docket 23]. The court GRANTS the motion to dismiss and
DENIES the motion to amend.
Blacker sued Bonneville for violations of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act. Bonneville made an offer of
judgment pursuant to Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. On February 10, 2017, Ms. Blacker accepted the
offer of judgment. On that same day, she also moved to amend
the complaint to add an additional defendant. On February 13,
2017, Bonneville filed a notice of Ms. Blacker's
acceptance of the offer of judgment. On February 16, 2017,
Ms. Blacker also filed a document styled as a Notice of
Acceptance of Defendant's Rule 68 Offer of Judgment.
Within the text of the notice, Ms. Blacker requested that
judgment be entered against Bonnevile. Neither this court nor
the clerk of court entered a judgment.
then remitted a check for the full amount of the offer of
judgment as well as a sum for attorney fees and costs that
the parties had agreed upon. Ms. Blacker cashed the check.
Bonneville subsequently filed a motion to dismiss this action
under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
arguing that because it had already paid the full amount owed
under the offer of judgment the case was moot and the court
no longer had jurisdiction over it. Ms. Blacker opposed the
motion. She did not directly address the mootness argument
raised by Bonneville. Instead, she points to Rule 68, which
states: “[E]ither party may . . . file the offer [of
judgment] and notice of acceptance, plus proof of service.
The clerk must then enter judgment.” Ms. Blacker argued
that the clerk should enter judgment, and that she will then
file a satisfaction of judgment.
courts lack jurisdiction to decide moot cases because their
constitutional authority extends only to actual cases or
controversies.” Iron Arrow Honor Soc'y v.
Heckler, 464 U.S. 67, 70 (1983); accord Walling v.
Shenandoah-Dives Min. Co., 134 F.2d 395, 396-97 (10th
Cir. 1943) (“When in the course of a trial the matter
in controversy comes to an end, either by an act of one or
both of the parties or by operation of law, the question
becomes moot and the court is without further jurisdiction in
the matter.”). A case becomes moot when the plaintiff
obtains “everything that i[t] could recover in [a] case
by a judgment of [the] court in its favor.”
California v. San Pablo & Tulare R. Co., 149
U.S. 308, 314 (1893). The Supreme Court has held, for
example, that where a defendant deposited the full amount of
the sums sued for with the plaintiff-including interest,
penalties, and cost-the case was moot and the Court lacked
jurisdiction to hear it. Id. at 313-14.
case, Bonneville has already paid everything that could be
owed under a judgment entered by this court, including a sum
for attorney fees and costs. Ms. Blacker cannot obtain
anything from a judgment that she has not already received
from Bonneville. This case, therefore, is now moot and the
court no longer has jurisdiction to hear it. Bonneville's
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) is GRANTED. Ms.
Blacker's action is DISMISSED WITHOUT
the action has been dismissed, Ms. Blacker's motion to
amend the complaint to add another defendant is now moot.
Moreover, Ms. Blacker waited until she had accepted an offer
of judgment to move to amend the complaint. Given that the
issues in the complaint had been conclusively resolved by her
acceptance of the offer of judgment, Ms. Blacker's motion
to amend was untimely. The court rejects her attempt to graft
new claims to a case that has been resolved.
court rules as follows:
(1) Bonneville's motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1)
[Docket 26] is GRANTED. Dismissal is WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
(2) Ms. Blacker's motion to amend [Docket 23] is DENIED
AS MOOT. DATED ...