United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
PARADISE BAXTER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
January 17, 2019, this Court entered an Order granting
Defendants summary judgment as to Plaintiff's Eid Feast
claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and
dismissing Defendants Muhammad, Mayer, and Kalist for their
lack of personal involvement [ECF No. 65]. Presently before
the Court is Plaintiff's motion for certificate of
finality [ECF No. 83] requesting an order certifying the
foregoing determinations as final for purposes of an
immediate appeal, pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure.
54(b) provides that, when an action presents more than one
claim for relief, “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). This
rule is designed “to strike a balance between the
undesirability of piecemeal appeals and the need for making
review available at a time that best serves the needs of the
parties.” Berckeley Inv. Grp., Ltd. v.
Colkitt, 455 F.3d 195, 202 (3d Cir. 2006). “Courts
consider the following factors in evaluating a request for
certification pursuant to Rule 54(b): ‘the relationship
of the adjudicated and unadjudicated claims, the possibility
that the need for review might be mooted by ongoing
litigation in the district court, the possibility that the
Court of Appeals might be obligated to consider the same or
closely related issues a second time, the presence of any
claim or counterclaim which could result in a set-off against
the judgment, and miscellaneous factors such as delay,
judicial economy solvency, and time for trial.' Larry
Pitt & Associates v. Lundy Law, LLP, 2015 WL
12806506, at *1 (E.D. Pa. 2015) (citing Waldorf v.
Shuta, 143 F.3d 601, 609 (3d Cir. 1998) (internal
citations omitted)).” Marinkovic v. Battaglia,
2017 WL 3671243, at *4 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 25, 2017).
28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) provides:
When a district judge, in making in a civil action an order
not otherwise appealable under this section, shall be of the
opinion that such order involves a controlling question of
law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of
opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order may
materially advance the ultimate termination of the
litigation, he shall so state in writing in such order.
Id. Under both rules, the trial court's decision
to permit the appeal of non-final orders of court is entirely
discretionary. See Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen.
Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1, 8 (1980) (observing that Rule
54(b) relies on “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.”); Bachowsky v. Usery, 545 F.2d 363,
368 (3d Cir. 1976) (noting that certification pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1292(b) “is wholly within the discretion
of the courts”).
piecemeal litigation is generally disfavored, certification
under Rule 54(b) should only be granted in unusual cases
where failing to allow an immediate appeal would create some
hardship or injustice, or where allowing the appeal would
increase judicial efficiency. Here, Plaintiff argues that the
delay of appealing the Court's non-final order until
after trial of the remaining claims would be unjust and carry
the risk of “an expensive, duplicative trial” if
the appeals court later ends up overturning the Court's
non-final summary judgment order (ECF No. 84, at p. 3).
However, such circumstances are present in all cases in which
fewer than all claims are dismissed pre-trial and, thus, fail
to establish hardship or injustice. Moreover, because the
trial of the remaining claims in this case is scheduled for
October 1, 2019, an immediate appeal of the Court's
non-final order would do more to impede, rather than
increase, judicial efficiency.
1292(b) does not warrant a different result. Certification
pursuant to Section 1292(b) should only be used
“sparingly and in exceptional circumstances.”
Burella v. City of Phila., 2010 WL 235110, at *4
(E.D. Pa. 2014). Courts are admonished not to “certify
questions of relatively clear law merely because the losing
party disagrees with the court's analysis.” In
re Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Litig., 607
F.Supp.2d 701, 706 (M.D. Pa. 2009). Such is the case here.
Despite Plaintiffs objections to the contrary, the
Court's finding that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies as to his Eid Feast claims is
adequately supported by this Circuit's judicial
precedent, as well as the facts of this case, as discussed in
this Court's Order dated January 17, 2019 (ECF No. 65, at
pp. 6-7). The same is true of the Court's dismissal of
Defendants Muhammad, Mayer, and Kalist, based on their lack
of personal involvement. Thus, there is no substantial ground
for difference of opinion that might justify invocation of
NOW, THEREFORE, this 16th day of July, 2019, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that Plaintiffs motion for certificate of finality
[ECF NO. 83] is DENIED.
In so doing, this Court adopted in part
the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Richard A.
Lanzillo [ECF No. 60] granting in part Defendants' motion