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Lighthouse Resources Inc. v. Inslee

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

May 28, 2019

LIGHTHOUSE RESOURCES INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
JAY INSLEE, et al., Defendants, and BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY Intervenor-Plaintiff, and WASHINGTON ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL, et al., Intervenor-Defendants.

          ORDER ON MOTION FOR ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT UNDER FED. R. CIV. P. 54 (B)

          ROBERT J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on the Plaintiffs and Intervenor-Plaintiff's Protective Motion for Entry of Final Judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 54 (b). Dkt. 327. The Court has considered pleadings filed regarding the motion and the remaining record.

         This case challenges the State's denial of a Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification and denial of request for approval of a sublease of state-owned aquatic lands for Plaintiffs' proposed coal export terminal. In the pending motions, the Plaintiffs and Intervenor-Plaintiff[1]now move the Court for an order directing judgment be entered under Fed.R.Civ.P. 54 (b). For the reasons provided below, the motion (Dkt. 327) should be denied.

         I. FACTS

         As is relevant to the pending motion, on October 23, 2018, the Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment was granted and all claims against Defendant Hilary Franz were dismissed as barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Dkt. 170. On December 11, 2018, Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment was granted and the Plaintiffs' preemption claims under the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (“ICCTA”) and the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (“PWSA”) were dismissed. Dkt. 200.

         On April 11, 2019, the undersigned determined that temporary abstention was appropriate, and the case was stayed pursuant to Railroad Commission of Texas v. Pullman, 312 U.S. 496 (1941). Dkt. 326. The Court found that “in addition to the principles of comity raised by Pullman, considerations of judicial economy and the likelihood of inconsistent results favor temporary abstention.” Dkt. 326, at 8. The Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal on May 10, 2019. Dkts. 329 and 331.

         The Plaintiffs now move the Court to direct entry of a final judgment on the October 23, 2018 Order on Defendant Hilary Franz's Motion for Summary Judgment under the Eleventh Amendment (Dkt. 170) and on the December 11, 2018 Order on Defendants' and Intervenor-Defendants' Motions for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 200). Dkt. 327.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 54 (b), “Judgment on Multiple Claims or Involving Multiple Parties, ” 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 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.

         “Rule 54 (b) allows a district court in appropriate circumstances to enter judgment on one or more claims while others remain unadjudicated.” Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., 905 F.3d 565, 574 (9th Cir. 2018). “[T]he district court first must render an ultimate disposition of an individual claim. The court then must find that there is no just reason for delaying judgment on this claim.” Id.

         A. DISPOSITION OF AN INDIVIDUAL CLAIM

         The first requirement - ultimate disposition of an individual claim - is met as to both orders. All claims were dismissed against Hilary Franz in the October 2018 order and the preemption claims were all dismissed in the December 11, 2018 order on the partial motion for summary judgment.

         B. NO JUST ...


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