United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Allen Beaulieu, individually and d/b/a Allen Beaulieu Photography, Plaintiff,
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.
Wood, Esq., Outfront MN, counsel for Defendant Thomas Martin
F. Fox, Esq., Lauren Shoeberl, Esq., and Lewis A. Remele,
Jr., Esq., Bassford Remele, counsel for Defendant Charles
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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. (Doc. No. 263.) For the reasons set forth
below, the Court denies Beaulieu's request.
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. (Id. at 7.) The Court strongly
encouraged the parties “to participate whole-heartedly
in a settlement-mediation” to resolve the remaining
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.)
Certification Under Rule 54(b)
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