United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
GRACE G. SIMMS, Plaintiff,
PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY-ALTOON A, Defendant.
before the Court is Plaintiff Grace Simms' Motion for
Certification of Judgment as Final and Appealable (ECF No.
25). The Motion has been fully briefed (see ECF Nos.
26, 28) and is ripe for disposition. For the reasons stated
below, the Court will DENY Simms'
filed a five-count complaint before this Court. (ECF No. 1.)
Subsequently, Simms voluntarily dismissed two claims outright
and all of her claims against the individual defendants. (ECF
No. 12 at 6.) Thus, three claims remained against Defendant
Perm State Altoona: (1) a Fourteenth Amendment procedural due
process claim (Count I); (2) a Fourteenth Amendment
substantive due process claim (Count II); and (3) a Title VI
claim for race discrimination (Count III).
State Altoona filed a Motion to Dismiss Simms' procedural
due process and substantive due process claims (ECF No. 8),
which this Court granted. Simms v. Pennsylvania State
Univ.-Altoona, No. 3:17-CV-201, 2018 WL 1413098 (W.D.
Pa. Mar. 20, 2018). Simms now asks this Court to enter a
final judgment on her procedural due process claim.
Simms' Procedural Due Process Claim
State Altoona did not allow Simms' attorney to
"actively participate" in Simms' Student
Conduct Board hearing when Simms also faced criminal charges
arising from the same conduct. (See ECF No. 12.) Simms
alleged that this violated her right to procedural due
process. This Court rejected Simms' argument. The Court
concluded that when a student faces criminal charges in
addition to student disciplinary charges, "the due
process clause does not require that an accused student's
attorney actively participate in her disciplinary
hearing." Id. at 6.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits the Court to
"direct entry of a final judgment as to one or more, but
fewer than all, claims or parties ... if the court expressly
determines that there is no just reason for delay."
decision to certify a final decision under Rule 54(b)
involves two separate findings: (1) there has been a final
judgment on the merits, i.e., an ultimate disposition on a
cognizable claim for relief; and (2) there is 'no just
reason for delay.'" Berckeley Inv. Grp., Ltd. v.
Colkitt, 455 F.3d 195, 202 (3d Cir. 2006) (quoting
Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. General Elec. Co., 446 U.S.
1, 7-8 (1980)). The Court issued a final judgment on the
merits of Plaintiff's procedural due process claim when
it dismissed it under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Accordingly, the Court must determine
whether there is "no just reason for delay."
See Jankowski v. Lellock, No. 2:13-CV-194, 2014 WL
5712243, at *6 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 5, 2014) (McVerry, J.).
Courts in the Third Circuit should analyze five factors when