RULE 54. JUDGMENT; COSTS
Effective Date: 8/1/2021
(a) Definition; Form. "Judgment" as used in these rules includes a decree and any order from which an appeal lies. A judgment should not include recitals of pleadings, a master's report, or a record of prior proceedings.
(b) Judgment on Multiple Claims or Involving Multiple Parties.If an action presents more than one claim for relief, whether as a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party claim, or if multiple parties are involved, the court may direct entry of a final judgment as to one or more, but fewer than all, claims or parties only if the court expressly determines that there is no just reason for delay. Otherwise, any order or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.
(c) Demand for Judgment; Relief to be Granted. A default judgment must not differ in kind from, or exceed in amount, what is demanded in the pleadings. Every other final judgment should grant the relief to which each party is entitled, even if the party has not demanded that relief in its pleadings.
(d) Death Before Judgment. If a party dies after a verdict or decision on any issue of fact and before judgment, the court may still render judgment. That judgment is not a lien on the real property of the deceased party, but is payable as provided in N.D.C.C. ch. 30.1-19.
(e) Costs and Disbursements; Objections; Attorneys' Fees.
(1) Costs and Disbursements. Costs and disbursements must be allowed as provided by statute.(A) A party awarded costs and disbursements must serve and file a detailed, verified statement of costs and disbursements within 30 days after entry of an order for judgment.(B) Objections must be served and filed within 14 days after service of the statement or such other time as the court, in its discretion, may allow. The grounds for objections must be specified.(C) If objections are filed, the clerk must promptly submit them to the judge who issued the order for judgment. A party may request a hearing on objections within seven days of filing of the objections and must secure a time for hearing and serve notice upon all parties. A timely request for hearing must be granted.(D) If no objections are filed within the time designated under this rule, the clerk must allow the costs and disbursements included in the statement and insert them in the judgment. If the court determine costs and disbursements under this rule, the clerk must insert them in the judgment.
(2) Attorneys' Fees. A claim for attorneys' fees and related nontaxable expenses not determined by the judgment must be made by motion.(A) The motion must be served and filed within 21 days after notice of entry of judgment.(B) The motion must:(i) specify the judgment and the statute, rule, or other grounds entitling the movant to the award;(ii) state the amount sought or provide a fair estimate of it; and(iii) disclose, if the court so orders, the terms of any agreement about fees for the services for which the claim is made.(C) The trial court may decide the motion even after an appeal is filed.
Rule 54 was amended, effective January 1, 1980; September 1, 1983; March 1, 1990; March 1, 1997; March 1, 1998; March 1, 2011; March 1, 2012; August 1, 2021.
Under subdivision (b), entry of a final judgment adjudicating fewer than all of the claims of all of the parties is permitted only in the infrequent harsh case involving unusual circumstances where failure to allow an immediate appeal would create demonstrated prejudice or hardship. The party requesting entry of judgment under subdivision (b) carries the burden of establishing that unusual and compelling or out-of-the-ordinary circumstances exist and that prejudice or hardship will result if entry of judgment is denied. The district court must weigh the overall policy prohibiting piecemeal appeals against the exigencies of the case and must delineate the unusual or compelling circumstances justifying order of entry of judgment. If the district court does not enter judgment under Rule 54(b), a partial summary judgment adjudicating fewer than all of the claims of all of the parties is not a final judgment and is not immediately appealable. A party seeking to appeal must wait until the end of the case, when all claims have been resolved and final judgment has been entered, before filing an appeal.
Subdivision (e) was amended, effective August 1, 2021, to provide a procedure for objections to be heard before costs and disbursements are inserted in the judgment and to include content requirements for motions seeking attorney fees.
Paragraph (e)(1)(B) was amended, effective March 1, 2011, to increase the time to object to costs from 7 to 14 days after service of the statement of costs and disbursements.
Paragraph (e)(2) was amended, effective March 1, 2011, to increase the time to make a claim for attorneys' fees from 15 to 21 days after notice of entry of judgment.
Rule 54 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of April 29, 2021, page 5; January 28, 2021, pages 2-6; September 26, 2019, pages 6-12; April 26, 2019, pages 5-7; April 28-29, 2011, page 13; April 29-30, 2010, page 14; September 24-25, 2009, page 23; January 30, 1997, page 8; January 25-26, 1996, pages 7-10; September 28-29, 1995, page 18; April 20, 1989, page 2; December 3, 1987, page 11; November 29, 1984, page 18; September 30-October 1, 1982, pages 1-3; November 29-30, 1979, page 14; April 26-27, 1979, pages 19-20; Fed.R.Civ.P. 54.
CROSS REFERENCE:N.D.R.Civ.P. 8 (General Rules of Pleadings), N.D.R.Civ.P. 52 (Findings By the Court), N.D.R.Civ.P. 58 (Entry of Judgment), N.D.R.Civ.P. 59 (New Trials-Amendment of Judgments) and N.D.R.Civ.P. 77 (District Courts and Clerks); N.D.R.App.P. 3 (Appeal as of Right-How Taken). See also, N.D.R.Civ.P. 20 (Permissive Joinder of Parties) and N.D.R.Civ.P. 21 (Misjoinder and Non-Joinder of Parties).