REPORT & RECOMMENDATION
ROBERT S. BALLOU, Magistrate Judge.
Defendants ask the court to stay consideration of Plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees and costs until resolution of the pending appeals. Dkt. No. 248. I
This discrimination and civil rights action relates to Plaintiff's employment as a police officer with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. The district court dismissed Plaintiff's claims in their entirety, but awarded her summary judgment on her procedural due process claim under § 1983 relating to the termination of her employment. At trial, a jury awarded Plaintiff damages of $183,483.76. Dkt. No. 209. The final judgment included an award of additional back pay, prejudgment interest and front pay as well as other non-monetary relief. Plaintiff promptly filed a motion for Award of Reasonable Attorney's Fees and Costs. Dkt. No. 242. Both parties have appealed various aspects of the district court's rulings to the Fourth Circuit.
Plaintiff is entitled to an award of attorney's fees as a prevailing party. Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2); 42 U.S.C. § 1988. The district court retains jurisdiction to consider the fee petition while the case is on appeal because the fee issue is a discretionary decision that is separate from the underlying judgment. 28 U.S.C. § 1291;
A decision to defer a ruling on a pending motion is within the "inherent power" of the district court "to ensure both the efficient management of its docket, as well as economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel and for litigants."
An award of attorneys' fees and costs at this stage is premature. Victory on appeal by Plaintiff likely would entitle her to additional fees for time spent on the appeal.
The Clerk is directed to transmit the record in this case to the Honorable Norman K. Moon, United States District Judge, and to provide copies of this Report and Recommendation to counsel of record. Both sides are reminded that pursuant to Rule 72(b), they are entitled to note any objections to this Report and Recommendation which must be filed within fourteen (14) days hereof. Any adjudication of fact or conclusion of law rendered herein by me that is not specifically objected to within the period prescribed by law may become conclusive upon the parties. Failure to file specific objections pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) as to factual recitations or findings as well as to the conclusion reached by me may be construed by any reviewing court as a waiver of such objections, including a waiver of the right to appeal.