United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
IOFINA, INC., IOFINA RESOURCES, INC., and IOFINA CHEMCIAL, INC., Plaintiffs,
IGOR KHALEV and KIVA HOLDING, INC., Defendants.
MILES-LaGRANGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is plaintiffs' Motion to Strike Defendants'
Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or to Deem It
Effective upon “Entry of Judgment, ” filed April
10, 2017. On April 18, 2017, defendants filed their response,
and on April 25, 2017, plaintiffs filed their reply. Based
upon the parties' submissions, the Court makes its
have filed a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law
or to alter or amend judgment. Plaintiffs assert that
defendants' motion is premature because there is no final
appealable judgment and that defendants' motion,
therefore, should be stricken or ordered to become effective
upon “entry of judgment.” In their response,
defendants recognize that the Tenth Circuit would not find
the Court's February 17, 2017 Judgment to be a final
judgment. Defendants, however, request the Court to sua
sponte revise the February 17, 2017 Judgment to include
explicit findings on finality and no just reason for delay
such that said judgment would be considered a final judgment.
final decision must dispose of all claims by all parties,
except a decision may otherwise be considered final if it is
properly certified as a final judgment under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 54(b).” New Mexico v.
Trujillo, 813 F.3d 1308, 1316 (10th Cir. 2016) (internal
citation omitted). Rule 54(b) provides:
When an action presents more than one claim for relief -
whether as a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party
claim - or when 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
determine 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.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). The Tenth Circuit has interpreted the
“expressly determines” language of Rule 54(b) to
require the district courts to make two determinations.
“First, the district court must determine the judgment
is final. Second, it must determine there is no just reason
for delay of entry of its judgment.” Trujillo,
813 F.3d at 1316.
Factors for the district court to consider in making an
express determination of finality and no just reason for
delay include whether the claims under review [are] separable
from the others remaining to be adjudicated and whether the
nature of the claims already determined [is] such that no
appellate court would have to decide the same issues more
than once even if there were subsequent appeals.
Id. (internal quotations and citations omitted).
“In order to determine whether an order is
‘final' a district court must first consider the
separability of the adjudicated and unadjudicated
claims.” Inola Drug, Inc. v. Express Scripts,
Inc., 390 F. App'x 774, 775 (10th Cir. 2010)
(internal citations omitted). “In determining whether
claims are separable, courts should consider whether the
allegedly separate claims turn on the same factual questions,
whether they involve common legal issues, and whether
separate recovery is possible.” Id. at 776
(internal quotations and citation omitted).
time of the Court's entry of the February 17, 2017
Judgment, this Court had not resolved all claims for relief.
Specifically, all but one of defendants' counterclaims
remained pending, though stayed, and the Court had not fully
disposed of plaintiffs' claim for injunctive relief.
Accordingly, the February 17, 2017 Judgment was not a final
having reviewed the parties' submissions, the Court finds
that it would not be appropriate for this Court to revise its
February 17, 2017 Judgment by including the requisite
findings to certify it as a final judgment under Rule 54(b).
Specifically, the Court finds that the claims addressed in
the February 17, 2017 Judgment are not separable from at
least one, if not more, of the remaining
counterclaims. Defendants have asserted a counterclaim
for declaratory judgment that defendants have not violated
the Oklahoma Uniform Trade Secrets Act. This counterclaim is
a mirror image of plaintiffs' already adjudicated trade
secrets claim under the Oklahoma Uniform Trade Secrets Act,
presenting the same facts and legal issues. The Court,
therefore, finds that its February 17, 2017 Judgment is not
“final” for purposes of Rule 54(b).
the Court finds that defendants' motion for judgment as a
matter of law is premature and should be stricken. The Court,
therefore, GRANTS plaintiffs' Motion to Strike
Defendants' Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of
Law [docket no. 346] and STRIKES defendants' Renewed
Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or to Alter or Amend
Judgment and Brief in Support [docket nos. 325 and 328].