United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
OPINION AND ORDER
YIM YOU UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
have filed a Motion for Entry of Partial Final Judgment under
FRCP 54(b) (ECF #318) in which they seek partial final
judgment with respect to their Religious Freedom Restoration
Act (“RFRA”) claim and a stay of litigation with
respect to their remaining claims. ECF #318. For the reasons
discussed below, the motion is DENIED.
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.
determination whether to enter a final judgment pursuant to
FRCP 54(b) is “exclusively within the discretion of the
district court.” Dannenberg v. Software Toolworks,
Inc., 16 F.3d 1073, 1078 (9th Cir. 1994) (quoting
Ill. Tool Works, Inc. v. Brunsing, 378 F.2d 234, 236
(9th Cir. 1967)). “It is left to the sound judicial
discretion of the district court to determine the
‘appropriate time' when each final decision in a
multiple claims action is ready for appeal.”
Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1,
entering judgment pursuant to FRCP 54(b), the court must have
rendered a “final judgment” on the claim at
issue. Wood v. GCC Bend, 422 F.3d 873, 878 (9th Cir.
2005) (quoting Curtiss-Wright, 446 U.S. at 7).
“Final judgment” is defined as “an ultimate
disposition of an individual claim entered in the course of a
multiple claims action.” Id.
the court must determine whether there is any just reason to
delay appeal on the already adjudicated claim. Wood,
422 F.3d at 878. In making this determination, the court
considers both the interests of sound judicial administration
and the equities involved in the case.
Curtiss-Wright, 446 U.S. at 8. The principle of
sound judicial administration requires court is to consider
“whether the claims under review [are] separable”
legally and factually, and whether granting the Rule 54(b)
request might result in multiple appellate decisions or
duplicate proceedings on the same issues. Id.
54(b) certification is generally disfavored. It “must
be reserved for the unusual case in which the costs and risks
of multiplying the number of proceedings and of overcrowding
the appellate docket are outbalanced by pressing needs of the
litigants.” Morrison-Knudsen v. Archer, 655
F.2d 962, 965 (9th Cir. 1981). While “Rule 54(b)
certification is proper if it will aid in ‘expeditious
decision' of the case, ” Texaco, Inc. v.
Ponsoldt, 939 F.2d 794, 797 (9th Cir. 1991) (citation
omitted), granting a Rule 54(b) motion is “not
routine” and “should not become so.”
Wood, 422 F.3d at 879. “Therefore, the burden
lies on the party moving for certification to show that their
case's circumstances are unusual enough to merit
departure from the court's general presumption against
Rule 54(b).” Birkes v. Tillamook Cty., No.
3:09-CV-1084-AC, 2012 WL 2178964, at *3 (D. Or. June 13,
2012) (citing U.S. Fire Ins. Co. v. Williamsburg
Nat'l Ins. Co., No. 1:07-CV-00718, 2009 WL 650578,
*2 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 12, 2009)).
parties do not dispute that there has been final judgment on
plaintiffs' RFRA claim.
Equities of Delay
contend that their motion should be granted because there is
no just reason to delay appeal. In making this determination,
courts consider both “juridical concerns, ” like
avoiding “piecemeal appeals” in a case that
“should be reviewed only as [a] single unit, ”
and “equitable factors such as prejudice and
delay.” Noel v. Hall, 568 F.3d 743, 747 (9th
Cir. 2009) (quoting Curtiss-Wright, 446 U.S. at 10)
(internal quotations omitted). As noted previously, Rule
54(b) judgment should be avoided “unless the pressing
needs of the litigants outweigh the potential for multiple,
duplicate appeals.” Birkes, 2012 WL 2178964,
at *3 (citing Morrison-Knudsen, 655 F.2d at 965).