United States District Court, W.D. Washington
C. Coughenour United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Don Seymour's
motion for appointment of a settlement judge (Dkt. No. 78),
Plaintiff's motion for a final judgment on certain claims
(Dkt. No. 80), and Seymour's statement of non-opposition
(Dkt. No. 82). Having thoroughly considered the parties'
briefing and the relevant record, the Court DENIES
Seymour's motion (Dkt. No. 78) and GRANTS Plaintiff's
motion (Dkt. No. 80) for the reasons explained herein.
Court has described the underlying facts of this case in
previous orders and will not repeat them here. (See
Dkt. Nos. 21, 52, 75.) The Court previously dismissed all
claims against Germanischer Lloyd (USA) Inc., Phil Essex, and
Moorsom Consulting Group, LLC (collectively the “GL
Defendants”), and all claims against Seymour, to the
extent loss-of-use damages are alleged. (Dkt. No. 75 at
7-12.) Plaintiff's only surviving claims, excluding
loss-of-use damages, relate to Seymour's alleged
negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract. (Dkt. No.
75 at 12.)
first moved the Court to appoint a settlement judge to assist
in resolving the remaining claims. (Dkt. No. 78.) Plaintiff
then moved the Court: (a) to enter a final judgment pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) for all claims
against the GL Defendants and for the claims against Seymour
to the extent loss-of-use damages are alleged, (b) to stay
Plaintiff's remaining claims against Seymour, and (c) to
strike the April 30, 2018 trial date. (Dkt. No. 80.) Seymour
does not oppose Plaintiff's motion, but asks the Court to
prospectively appoint a settlement judge once a stay on the
remaining claims is lifted. (Dkt. No. 82 at 1-2.)
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorize the Court to
direct an entry of final judgment when (1) fewer than all of
the original claims in an action are resolved and (2)
“there is no just reason for delay.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
54(b). Therefore, the Court first must determine that its
previous order of dismissal represented a final judgment.
Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. General Elec. Co., 446 U.S.
1, 7 (1980). The Court must then determine if there is any
just reason for delay. Id. So long as an entry of
final judgment does not result in “piecemeal
appeals” of a case that “should be reviewed only
as [a] single unit, ” the Court is afforded
“significant discretion” and “substantial
deference” in making its determination regarding
whether entry of judgment is warranted. Id. at 10.
As to a
final judgment on the claims against the GL Defendants, there
is little question that the Court's previous dismissal
was final. (See generally Dkt. No. 75.) Further,
there is no just reason for delaying judgment on those
claims. Seymour is the only remaining Defendant, and the
remaining claims against him are unrelated to the claims
against the GL Defendants. Thus, entering final judgment
would not result in piecemeal appeals or duplicative
As to a
final judgment on the claims against Seymour, to the extent
loss-of-use damages are alleged, there is also little
question that the Court's previous dismissal was final.
(Dkt. Nos. 52 at 7, 75 at 9-12.) Further, Plaintiff's
remaining claims are not significant and are best resolved
after an appeal of the dismissed claims is complete.
(See Dkt. No. 80 at 7-8.) Therefore, there is no
just reason for delay of a final entry of judgment on
Plaintiff's claims against Seymour, to the extent
loss-of-use damages are alleged. For the same reasons, the
Court finds that a stay of the remaining claims is warranted.
However, the Court will not appoint a settlement judge for
those claims at this time. Once Plaintiff's anticipated
appeal is complete, Seymour may again move for appointment of
a settlement judge.
reasons described above, the Court ORDERS as follows:
Seymour's motion for appointment of a settlement judge
(Dkt No. 78) is DENIED.
Plaintiff's motion for entry of a final judgment pursuant
to Rule 54(b) (Dkt. No. 80) is.
a. The Clerk is DIRECTED to enter final judgment as to all
claims against the GL Defendants and claims against Seymour,
to the extent loss-of-use damages are alleged.
b. The remaining claims against Seymour are STAYED until
Plaintiff notifies the Court that it seeks to lift the stay.
Plaintiff must provide such notification no later than
fourteen (14) days after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
issues a ruling on Plaintiff's anticipated appeal. If