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Beaulieu v. Stockwell

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 14, 2019

Allen Beaulieu, individually and d/b/a Allen Beaulieu Photography, Plaintiff,
v.
Clint Stockwell, an individual; Studio 1124, LLC, a Minnesota limited liability company; Thomas Martin Crouse, an individual; Charles Willard “Chuck” Sanvik, an individual; and Does 3 through 7, Defendants.

          Russell M. Spence, Jr., Esq., and Christopher M. Daniels, Esq., Parker Daniels Kibort LLC; Bradford P. Lyerla, Esq., Gabriel K. Gillett, Esq., and Leigh J. Jahnig, Esq., Jenner & Block LLP, counsel for Plaintiff.

          Michael L. Puklich, Esq., Neaton & Puklich, P.L.L.P., counsel for Defendants Clint Stockwell and Studio 1124, LLC.

          Eva Wood, Esq., Outfront MN, counsel for Defendant Thomas Martin Crouse.

          Edward F. Fox, Esq., Lauren Shoeberl, Esq., and Lewis A. Remele, Jr., Esq., Bassford Remele, counsel for Defendant Charles Willard Sanvik.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Allen Beaulieu's (“Beaulieu”) request for certification of appeal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), or, alternatively, 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), or to decline supplemental jurisdiction over state-law counterclaims.[1] (Doc. No. 263.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Beaulieu's request.

         BACKGROUND

         This Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants Clint Stockwell (“Stockwell”) and Charles Willard Sanvik (“Sanvik”) on December 7, 2018. (Doc. Nos. 220, 221.) On January 2, 2019, the Court granted summary judgment sua sponte in favor of Defendants Thomas Martin Crouse (“Crouse”) and Studio 1124, LLC (“Studio 1124”). (Doc. No. 232 (“January Order”).) The Court also retained jurisdiction over Stockwell and Studio 1124's (the “Stockwell Defendants”) state-law counterclaims-the only remaining claims in the case.[2] (Id. at 7.) The Court strongly encouraged the parties “to participate whole-heartedly in a settlement-mediation” to resolve the remaining claims. (Id.)

         The parties participated in mediation; however, they were unable to resolve the remaining claims. (Doc. No. 248.) Beaulieu now asks the Court to certify its judgments (Doc. Nos. 223, 224) under Rule 54(b), make findings under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), or to decline supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law counterclaims to facilitate an immediate appeal of the Court's decisions. (Doc. No. 264 (“Request”) at 1.) Beaulieu contends that doing so will enhance judicial efficiency and fairness. (Id. at 5.)

         I. Certification Under Rule 54(b)

         Beaulieu first asks the Court to certify its judgments under Rule 54(b). Rule 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). “[I]nterlocutory appeals under Rule 54(b) are ‘generally disfavored.'” Clos v. Corrs. Corp. of Am., 597 F.3d 925, 928 (8th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted). In deciding whether to certify a judgment under Rule 54(b), the Court must first determine whether there has been an ultimate disposition on a cognizable claim for relief as to a claim such that there is a “final judgment.” Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1, 7 (1980). If the Court determines that there is a final judgment for purposes of Rule 54(b), it “must go on to determine whether there ...


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