United States District Court, D. Minnesota
G. Boylan, Philip J. Kaplan, Norman H. Pentelovitch, and
Peter J. McGilligott, Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie
P.A., Counsel for Plaintiff Strategic Energy Concepts, LLC.
J. Pieper, Eric A. Bartsch, and Margaret E. Dalton, Stoel
Rives LLP, Counsel for Defendants Otoka Energy, LLC; Buena
Vista Biomass Development, LLC; Amador Biomass, LLC; and
Buena Vista Biomass Power, LLC.
MEMORANDUM OF LAW & ORDER
MICHAEL J. DAVIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Enter
Final Judgment Pursuant to Rule 54(b). [Docket No. 201] The
background facts of this case are set forth in detail in the
Court's March 28, 2019 Order. [Docket No. 200]
March 28, 2019, the Court granted Defendants' motions for
summary judgment and dismissed the Amended Complaint. Because
the counterclaims of Defendant Otoka Energy, LLC
(“Otoka”) against Plaintiff Strategic Energy
Concepts LLC (“Strategic Energy”) remained, no
judgment was entered. Otoka asserts two counterclaims:
Counterclaim Count 1: Breach of Contract; and Counterclaim
Count 2: Breach of Fiduciary Duty. [Docket No. 65]
now requests that the Court enter final judgment on dismissal
of the Amended Complaint so that it can immediately appeal
the Court's decision. Defendants Otoka; Buena Vista
Biomass Development, LLC (“BVBD”); Buena Vista
Biomass Power, LLC (“BVBP”); and Amador Biomass,
LLC (“Amador”) (collectively, the “Otoka
Defendants”) oppose Plaintiff's motion.
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.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b).
certifying that there is no just reason for delay under Rule
54(b), the district court must consider both the equities of
the situation and judicial administrative interests,
particularly the interest in preventing piecemeal
appeals.” Clos v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 597 F.3d
925, 928 (8th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).
district court must undertake a two-step analysis when
deciding whether to certify an order under Rule 54(b).”
Downing v. Riceland Foods, Inc., 810 F.3d 580, 585
(8th Cir. 2016). First, the Court “must first determine
that it is dealing with a final judgment . . . in the sense
that it is an ultimate disposition of an individual
claim.” Id. (citation omitted). In this case,
the parties agree that the Court is dealing with a final
judgment: the Court's March 28, 2019 Order disposes of
all claims brought by Strategic Energy against Defendants.
Second, the district court must determine whether a just
reason for delay exists. In making such determination, the
district court must consider both the equities of the
situation and judicial administrative interests, particularly
the interest in preventing piecemeal appeals. It is a
long-standing rule of the Eighth Circuit that [c]ertification
should be granted only if there exists some danger of
hardship or injustice through delay which would be alleviated
by immediate appeal.
Id. (citations omitted). The appellate court has
identified several factors that should be considered in
determining whether danger or hardship through delay exists:
(1) the relationship between the adjudicated and
unadjudicated claims; (2) the possibility that the need for
review might or might not be mooted by future developments in
the district court; (3) the possibility that the reviewing
court might be obliged to consider the same issue a second
time; (4) the presence or absence of a claim or counterclaim
which could result in setoff against the judgment sought to
be made final; (5) miscellaneous factors such as delay,