United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
the Court is Love's Travel Stops's motion for
certification of final judgment. [D. 88]. The Court
previously granted Love's motion for summary judgment and
dismissed it as a party. Love's now asks the Court to
certify that judgment as final under Federal Rule of Evidence
54(b). For the following reasons, this motion is granted.
Rule 54(b), when a suit involves multiple claims or parties,
the court can enter final judgment as to some of those claims
or parties. It may do so, however, “only if the court
expressly determines that there is no just reason for
delay.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). Once the court enters final
judgment as to those claims or parties, it cannot revise its
judgment. See Id. Love's contends that there is
no just reason for delay.
Court agrees. Five factors decide whether there is just
reason to put off finalizing a judgment:
• the relationship between the adjudicated and
• the possibility that future district-court
developments might moot the need for review;
• the possibility that the reviewing court might have to
consider the same issue a second time;
• the presence or absence of a claim or counterclaim
which could result in a setoff against the judgment sought to
be finalized; and
• miscellaneous factors such as delay, economic
considerations, shortening the time of trial, frivolity of
competing claims, expense, and the like.
Gen. Acquisition, Inc. v. GenCorp, Inc., 23 F.3d
1022, 1030 (6th Cir. 1994). Loves contends that each of these
factors favors finalization under Rule 54(b). The other
defendants oppose finaliza-tion. They argue that the policy
against piecemeal litigation bars finalization in this case,
and that finalization under Rule 54(b) should be used
balance, these factors show that there is no just reason to
delay finalizing the Love's summary-judgment order.
First, while the claims against Love's and the other
defendants are all negligence claims, they are claims for
distinct acts of negligence. The claim against Love's
stemmed from one instance where, according to the Plaintiffs,
it negligently serviced Lubic's tractor trailer, which
had a tire fly off and hit the Plaintiffs' car. By
contrast, the truck was driven by Lubic, who was working for
MHM, which is owned by Hasanovic. The Plaintiffs allege that
all three negligently maintained the vehicle over a period of
time. The Plaintiffs also claim that MHM and Hasanovic failed
to implement safety procedures for Lubic to follow. The
claims against Lu-bic, MHM, and Hasanovic are connected
through the business and their relationship to the truck.
Factually, the claim against Love's stands alone. The
first factor thus favors finalization. See Low-ery v.
Fed. Express Corp., 426 F.3d 817, 822-23 (6th Cir.
second factor does too. “The potential for a challenged
ruling to be mooted by subsequent developments in the
district court weighs against” finalization. Gen.
Acquisition, 23 F.3d at 1031. The facts underpinning the
claim against Love's, however, are only slightly related
to the facts underpinning the claims against the other
defendants. Whether the Plaintiffs or other defendants
prevail in this case has little bearing on whether Love's
would prevail. Thus, there is little risk that developments
in this suit will moot a challenge to the Court's
third factor also favors finalization. “[T]he greater
the overlap in the factual basis between adjudicated and
unadjudicated claims, the greater the possibility that [the
reviewing] court will have to revisit the same facts under a
different theory in a second appeal.” Lowery,
426 F.3d at 823. As explained above, the claim against
Love's is based on facts that overlap little with the
facts alleged against ...