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Betts v. Work Zone Traffic Control, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

May 7, 2019

DAVID BETTS, Plaintiff,
v.
WORK ZONE TRAFFIC CONTROL, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ADJUDICATE AND/OR CERTIFY THE FINAL JUDGMENT

          CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff David Betts' Motion to Adjudicate and/or Certify the Final Judgment. (Doc. # 109.) For the reasons that follow, the Court grants the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The facts giving rise to this case have been set forth at length elsewhere and will not be restated here except as relevant to resolving the present motion. See (Doc. # 71).

         On October 31, 2017, this Court entered an Order Granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to the only claim Plaintiff raised in his Complaint. (Id.) Plaintiff appealed that decision before the Court had ruled on any of the three counterclaims Defendant raised in its Answer. (Doc. # 81.) On January 2, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order directing Plaintiff to file an order from this Court adjudicating Defendant's counterclaims or certifying its summary judgment order as final pursuant to Rule 54(b). (Doc. # 92.)

         Subsequently, this Court dismissed Defendant's counterclaims without prejudice and dismissed the case. (Doc. # 104.) Accordingly, Plaintiff filed a second Notice of Appeal. (Doc. # 99.) However, on April 11, 2019, the Tenth Circuit issued an order indicating that because Defendant's counterclaims were dismissed without prejudice, the judgment of this Court was not final and appealable. (Doc. # 107 at 2.) The Tenth Circuit again directed Plaintiff to file an order from this Court adjudicating Defendant's counterclaims or certifying its summary judgment order as final pursuant to Rule 54(b). (Id.)

         Thus, on April 26, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Adjudicate and/or Certify the Final Judgment. (Doc. # 109.) Defendant filed a Response (Doc. # 110) on May 1, 2019, in which it indicated that it was unopposed to Plaintiff's Motion insofar as the Motion seeks certification from this Court that its summary judgment order is final for purposes of Rule 54(b).

         II. ANALYSIS

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) provides that

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.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b).

         Tenth Circuit authority requires that an order by this Court pursuant to Rule 54(b) must make the following two express determinations, along with an explanation supporting each determination: (1) the order being certified for entry of judgment is a “final” order, and (2) “there is no just reason to delay” review of the final order until this Court has conclusively ruled on the remaining claims. Atwell v. Gabow, No. 06-cv-02262-CMA-MJW, 2009 WL 112492, at *1 (D. Colo. Jan. 15, 2009). This Court now explicitly makes those two findings.

         A. FINALITY

         “To be considered ‘final,' an order 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.'” Atwell, 2009 WL 112492, at *3 (D. Colo. Jan. 15, 2009) (quoting Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1, 7 (1980)). A “claim” is generally understood to include “all factually or legally connected elements of a case.” Okla. Tpk. Auth. v. Bruner, 259 F.3d 1236, 1242 (10th Cir. 2001). Further, a ...


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