United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division
PITMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for a Rule 54(b)
Certification of Final Judgment, Petition for Section 1292(b)
Interlocutory Appeal, and Motion to Stay. (Mot., Dkt. 257).
Responses in objection to Plaintiffs' motion were filed
by Defendants Mike Maldonado, (Maldonado Resp., Dkt. 258);
American Title Group, (American Title Group Resp., Dkt. 259);
David Rogers, Michael McCarthy, and Robert Gandy,
(Rogers/McCarthy/Gandy Resp., Dkt. 262); and the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), (FDIC
Resp., Dkt. 271). Having considered the filings, applicable
law, and the case file, the Court enters the following order.
Court previously dismissed all Plaintiffs' claims against
Defendants American Title Group, Dan Brown, Eric Sherer, Mike
Maldonado, David Rogers, Robert Gandy, Michael McCarthy, and
the FDIC (collectively, the “dismissed
Defendants”). (Dkts. 220, 223, 227, 228). The Court
also denied Plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend their
complaint, (Dkt. 214), and motion to reconsider that order,
(Dkt. 229, 253). Plaintiffs' only remaining claims are
against Defendants HTH Real Property Management, Padilla
Property Corporation, Mauro T. Padilla, Maria del Rosario
Padilla, Mauro Joe Padilla, and Carlos Miguel Padilla
(collectively, the “Padilla Defendants”).
Defendant American Title Group has pending counterclaims
against Plaintiffs and crossclaims against select Defendants.
(American Title Group Ans., Dkt. 125, at 20-29).
now ask the Court to certify certain orders-specifically,
those dismissing Plaintiffs' claims against the dismissed
Defendants and denying Plaintiffs' motion for leave to
amend and motions for reconsideration (collectively,
“the Orders”)-as partial final judgments pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), which would permit
Plaintiffs to appeal those orders to the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Plaintiffs also seek
permission to file an interlocutory appeal of those orders
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) (“Section
1292(b)”). If granted the opportunity to appeal the
orders via either avenue, Plaintiffs seek a stay of their
noted above, Plaintiffs first seek certification of the
Orders as partial final judgments pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 54(b). That rule provides:
When an action presents more than one claim for relief . . .
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.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). In general, an order disposing of
fewer than all claims or parties in an action is not an
appealable final judgment unless the district court certifies
entry of partial final judgment under Rule 54(b). See,
e.g., DirectTV, Inc. v. Budden, 420 F.3d 521,
524 (5th Cir. 2005). Once certified by the district court,
however, “a Rule 54(b) judgment is a final decision
capable of immediate appellate review.” Tolan v.
Cotton, 713 F.3d 299, 303 (5th Cir. 2013), cert granted,
judgment vacated, 134 S.Ct. 1861 (2014).
54(b) motions “should not be granted routinely.”
Doss v. Morris, No. SA:11-CV-116-DAE, 2015 WL
4756294, at *1 (W.D. Tex. Aug. 11, 2015). As is evident from
the text of the rule, a district court may certify an order
pursuant to Rule 54(b) only if the Court determines there is
no just reason for delay. See, e.g.,
Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1,
8 (1980). The determination of whether no just reason for
delay exists is “left to the sound judicial discretion
of the district court.” Id. In making this
determination, courts consider “judicial administrative
interests as well as the equities involved.”
Id. Multiple factors may assist in this
determination, including “whether the claims under
review [are] separate from the others remaining to be
adjudicated and whether the nature of the claims already
determined was such that no appellate court would have to
decide the same issues more than once even if there were
subsequent appeals.” Id. However, “[i]t
is uneconomical for an appellate court to review facts on
appeal following a Rule 54(b) certification that it is likely
to be required to consider again when another appeal is
brought after the district court renders its decision on the
remaining claims or as to the remaining parties.” 10
Charles Alan Wright, Arthur Miller & Mary Kay Kane,
Federal Practice & Procedure § 2659 (3d ed. 1998).
the Court agrees with Plaintiffs that at least some of the
Orders represent an ultimate disposition of the claims
discussed therein, it is not satisfied that there is no just
reason for delaying certification of those orders as final
judgments. Plaintiffs' claims against the dismissed
Defendants and the Padilla Defendants arise out of the same
series of transactions and present common questions of law
and fact. Moreover, Plaintiffs' claims against the
Padilla Defendants will be resolved within six months, as
this case is set for trial in July 2018. It would therefore
be improper to certify the Orders pursuant to Rule 54(b).
Curtiss-Wright, 446 U.S. at 8 (“It was [proper
for the district court] to consider such factors as whether
the claims under review were separable from the others
remaining to be adjudicated . . .”); see Caleb v.
Grier, 598 Fed.Appx. 227, 232 (5th Cir. 2015) (noting
without objection a district court's decision to refrain
from entering final judgment as to certain claims because
they “at least tangentially relate[d] to . . . much of
the same set of facts as the dismissed claims.”).
taken into account judicial administrative interests as well
as the equities involved, including the lack of any danger of
hardship or injustice to Plaintiffs that would be worked by
delay, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs'
request to certify the Orders as partial final judgments
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b).