United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
CHARLESETTA REDD, individually and as Personal Representative of the ESTATE of BRIAN SIMMS, JR., deceased, Plaintiff,
BIG DOG HOLDING COMPANY, L.L.C. d/b/a OKLAHOMA CITY PUBLIC FARMERS MARKET et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. CAUTHRON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
filed a Motion for a Certification of Appealability Pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) (Dkt. No. 207).
Defendants Paul Galyon, City of Oklahoma City, and William
Citty responded, objecting to Plaintiff's Motion (Dkt.
No. 210). The motion is now at issue.
3, 2018, this Court entered a Memorandum and Opinion (Dkt.
No. 200) and Judgment (Dkt. No. 201). Plaintiff argues that
the Court should grant her Rule 54(b) motion for an immediate
appeal because her other claims remaining for trial have a
discrete legal basis. (Pl.'s Mot., Dkt. No. 207, p. 2.)
Defendants argue that certification under Rule 54(b) is not
appropriate because all of Plaintiff's claims arise from
the same set of facts. (Defs.' Resp., Dkt. No. 210, p.
2.) Defendants also argue that “[n]o matter how
Plaintiff's legal theories are characterized, the relief
Plaintiff seeks from any defendant requires a threshold
determination that it was inappropriate for Galyon to use
deadly force in his encounter with Simms” and as a
result, the Tenth Circuit will end up reviewing the issue
twice after the outstanding claims are adjudicated.
(Defs.' Resp., Dkt. No. 210, p. 6.)
Civ. P. Rule 54(b) outlines the certification process:
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 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.
purpose of Rule 54 “is to avoid the possible injustice
of a delay in entering judgment on a distinctly separate
claim or as to fewer than all of the parties until the final
adjudication of the entire case by making an immediate appeal
available.” 10 Charles A. Wright, Federal Practice
and Procedure: Civil § 2645 (3d ed. 1982). As a
result “[t]he rule attempts to strike a balance between
the undesirability of more than one appeal in a single action
and the need for making review available in multiple-party or
multiple-claim situations at a time that best serves the
needs of the litigants.” Id. at 35. Generally,
“trial courts should be reluctant to enter Rule 54(b)
orders since the purpose of this rule is a limited one: to
provide a recourse for litigants when dismissal of less than
all their claims will create undue hardships.”
Gas-A-Car, Inc. v. Am. Petrofina, Inc., 484 F.2d
1102, 1105 (10th Cir. 1973). The Rule 54(b) standard has two
prongs. “First, the district court must determine that
the order it is certifying is a final order.” Okla.
Tpk. Auth. v. Bruner, 259 F.3d 1236, 1242 (10th Cir.
2001). “Second, the district court must determine that
there is no just reason to delay review of the final order
until it has conclusively ruled on all claims presented by
the parties to the case.” Id.
the first prong of the analysis, the Court must determine
whether the Judgment is a final order or judgment. “It
must be a ‘judgment' in the sense that it is a
decision upon a cognizable claim for relief, and it must be
‘final' in the sense that it is ‘an ultimate
disposition of an individual claim entered in the course of a
multiple claims action.'” Curtiss-Wright Corp.
v. General Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1, 7 (1980) (quoting
Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Mackey, 351 U.S. 427, 436
(1956). “[A] judgment is not final for the purposes of
Rule 54(b) unless the claims resolved are distinct and
separable from the claims left unresolved.” Okla.
Tpk. Auth., 259 F.3d at 1243. A claim is generally
understood to be all the connected elements of a particular
case. Id. In this instance, Plaintiff has presented
multiple claims that are so factually connected they are
almost inseparable. Plaintiff argues that “the complex
claims of civil rights violations . . . are distinct from the
negligence claims still pending.” (Pl.'s Mot., Dkt.
No. 207, p. 3.) However, these claims all arise from the same
nexus of facts and these claims are not separate and distinct
from Plaintiff's unresolved claims.
cannot meet her burden under the first prong of the Rule
54(b) analysis and, as a result, this Court will not grant
certification under Rule 54(b).
Plaintiffs Motion for a Certification of Appealability
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil ...