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Bane v. City of Philadelphia

August 25, 2010

MICHAEL BANE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Slomsky, J.

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Michael Bane's Motion for Entry of Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). (Doc. No. 61.) On August 6, 2010, Defendants City of Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, Chief Inspector Anthony Dilacqua, Lieutenant Lisa King, Officer David Pinkerton, Officer Richard Brehant, Sergeant Benjamin Frazier, Detective Robert Zielinski, Captain David Harte, Inspector Jeanette Lake Dooley and Officer Daniel Gorman (hereinafter "City Defendants") filed a Response in Opposition to the Motion for Entry of Judgment. (Doc. No. 63.) On August 9, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Reply in Support of the Motion. (Doc. No. 64.) For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Plaintiff Michael Bane's Motion for Entry of Judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

On June 18, 2010, the Court issued an Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part City Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. Nos. 52, 53.) The Court dismissed Counts Two (Fourth Amendment Claim), Three (Second Amendment Claim), and Six (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations ["RICO"] Claim) as to all individual City Defendants. Various claims against City Defendants remain, including Count One (42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claim), which City Defendants did not move to dismiss. Accordingly, several individual City Defendants and the City of Philadelphia remain as parties to this action.*fn1

In the same Opinion, the Court granted in its entirety the Motion to Dismiss filed by Commonwealth Defendants, including Pennsylvania Attorney General Thomas W. Corbett, Jr., Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski, and Special Agents Charles Meissner and Eileen Bonner of the Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force, a unit of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General (hereinafter "Commonwealth Defendants"). Accordingly, the Court dismissed with prejudice Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint as to all Commonwealth Defendants.

On June 28, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. (Doc. No. 55.)*fn2 Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff received a letter from the Clerk of Court informing him of the appellate court's possible lack of jurisdiction in this case because this Court has not yet certified a final judgment. Consequently, on July 22, 2010, Plaintiff filed the Motion for Entry of Judgment currently before this Court. (Doc. No. 61.) Plaintiff requests that this Court certify its June 18, 2010 Order as final to allow Plaintiff to immediately appeal the decision to the Third Circuit.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) provides as follows:

(b) Judgment on Multiple Claims or Involving Multiple Parties

When an action presents more than one claim for relief - whether as a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, 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. "Ordinarily, an appeal can be taken only after a final judgment has been entered as to all of the pending claims and parties in a case." Bush v. Adams, 629 F.Supp.2d 468, 472 (E.D. Pa. 2009) (citing Morton Int'l, Inc. v. A.E. Staley Mfg. Co., 460 F.3d 470, 476 (3d Cir. 2006)). "The purpose of Rule 54(b) is to allow a court that dismisses some, but not all, of the claims or parties in a case to nonetheless enter final judgment as to the dismissed claims, allowing an immediate appeal without waiting for the remaining claims to be decided." Bush, 629 F.Supp.2d at 472.

The two requirements for entry of judgment under Rule 54(b) are: (1) that the order at issue be a final judgment, meaning the "ultimate disposition of an individual claim entered in the course of a multiple claims action," and (2) that there must be "no just reason for delay," taking into account both judicial administrative interests and the equities involved. Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1980) (quoting Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Mackey, 351 U.S. 427, 436-37 (1956)); Gerardi v. Pelullo, 16 F.3d 1363, 1371 (3d Cir. 1994) ("'[J]udicial administrative interests' should be considered by a district court in determining whether a matter is ready for appeal.").

"The function of the district court under the Rule is to act as a 'dispatcher.' It is left to the sound judicial discretion of the district court to determine the 'appropriate time' when each final decision in a multiple claims action is ready for appeal." Curtiss-Wright, 446 U.S. at 8. "The timing of such a release is, with good reason, vested by the rule primarily in the discretion of the District Court as the one most likely to be familiar with the case and with any justifiable reasons for delay." Mackey, 351 U.S. at 437.

In general, "certification pursuant to this rule is not to be entered routinely." Glaziers v. Newbridge Secs., Inc., 823 F.Supp. 1188, 1190 (E.D. Pa. 1993). Courts must "assure that application of the Rule effectively 'preserves the historic federal policy against piecemeal appeals.'" Curtiss-Wright, 446 U.S. at 8 (internal quotation omitted); see Sussex Drug Prods. v. Kanasco, Ltd., 920 F.2d 1150, 1153 (3d Cir. 1990) ("Disfavoring piecemeal appeals is a long-standing policy of the federal courts."); Allis-Chalmers Corp. v. Phila. Elec. Co., 521 F.2d 360, 363 (3d Cir. 1975) (explaining that Rule 54(b) was designed "to ...


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