United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION FOR
ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
BOND ARTERTON, U.S.D.J.
Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate") moves for
"entry of a final judgment on Counts I through IV of the
First Amended Complaint, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 54(b)." (Allstate's Mot. for Final J.
[Doc. # 59] at 1.) Plaintiff Susan Rudeen objects. (Pl.'s
Opp. [Doc. # 60J.) For the reasons that follow,
Allstate's motion is granted.
First Amended Complaint brought claims against four
defendants, including Allstate. (First Am. Compl. [Doc. #
26].) The First Amended Complaint includes nine counts, but
Allstate is named in only Counts I through IV. On March 20,
2018, Allstate's motion to "dismiss all of
Rudeen's claims against it" was granted, and the
"Clerk's office [was] instructed to terminate
Allstate from the case." (Ruling on Mots, to Dismiss
[Doc. # 44] at 7, 20.) Thus there are "no claims pending
against Allstate in this litigation," and Allstate
requests that the Court enter final judgment in its favor.
(Allstate's Mot. for Final J. at 1.)
"multiple parties are involved" in one action,
"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). "Thus, to have a
final judgment under the rule, (1) multiple claims
or multiple parties must be present, (2) at least
one claim, or the rights and liabilities of at least one
party, must be finally decided within the meaning of 28
U.S.C. § 1291, and (3) the district court must make
'an express determination that there is no just reason
for delay' and expressly direct the clerk to enter
judgment." Ginett v. Computer Task Group, Inc.,
962 F.2d 1085, 1091 (2d Cir. 1992).
because four defendants are named in this action, the
multiple parties requirement is met. Second, where a
"decision ends the litigation of that claim on the
merits and leaves nothing for the court to do but execute the
judgment entered on that claim, then the decision is
final" for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and Rule
54(b). Id. at 1092 (internal quotation and
alteration omitted). Because the Court's earlier ruling
dismissed all claims against Allstate on the merits of those
claims and directed the Clerk to terminate Allstate from the
case, this second requirement is also met.
this Court must make an "express determination"
whether there is any "just reason for delay" in the
entry of final judgment with regard to Allstate. "[T]his
decision is left to the sound judicial discretion of the
district court and is to be exercised in the interest of
sound judicial administration." Id. (internal
quotations omitted). "[N]ow that the garden-variety
civil complaint often involves multiple claims and/or
multiple parties, we cannot, as the Supreme Court has
recognized, hide behind the old 'infrequent harsh
case' chestnut" in determining whether the entry of
judgment under Rule 54(b) is appropriate. Id. at
1095. Nor must cases be "unusual,"
"exceptional," or otherwise extraordinary to merit
Rule 54(b) relief. See Id. Rather, district courts
should exercise discretion to serve "the interest of
sound judicial administration." Id. Thus
"[o]nly those claims 'inherently inseparable'
from or 'inextricably interrelated' to each other are
inappropriate for Rule 54(b) certification."
Id. at 1096; see also Hogan v. Consolidated Rail
Corp., 961 F.2d 1021, 1025 (2d Cir. 1992) ("Where
the complaint is dismissed as to one defendant but not
others, the court should not, as a general matter, direct the
entry of a final judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b) if the same
or closely related issues remain to be litigated against the
undismissed defendants."). But when "the claims are
'separable' or 'extricable' from each
other," district courts have discretion to determine
whether the entry of judgment under Rule 54(b) is
concedes that her "claims against Allstate may in some
sense be separable from her claims against the remaining
defendants due to the differing policy forms issued by each
defendant" but argues nonetheless that such separability
is "not dispositive." (Pl.'s Opp. at 2.) She
argues that relief under Rule 54(b) should be granted
"only in the infrequent harsh case," and that
Allstate has complained only of "customary delays"
associated with litigation which are "insufficient to
justify entry of final judgment in this case."
(Id. at 2-3.) But Plaintiffs argument is contrary to
the Second Circuit's clear rejection of the
"infrequent harsh case" standard in
Plaintiffs claims against the other defendants are based on
their separate policies which have different operative
language than Allstate's. Moreover, in cases with
identical policy terms and similar facts, the Second Circuit
has ruled in Allstate's favor that damage such as
Plaintiff describes is not covered under the Allstate policy.
(See Allstate's Mot. for Final J. at 3 (citing cases).)
Plaintiff does not dispute Allstate's characterization of
the claims in this case as separable, nor does she dispute
the applicability of the similar cases already decided by the
Second Circuit. (See generally Pl.'s Opp.) Thus
the Court finds that there is no just reason for delay in the
entry of judgment regarding Defendant Allstate Insurance
Company. See Huschle v. Allstate Ins. Co. et al, No.
3:18-cv-00248-JAM, ECF No. 63 (D. Conn. June 27, 2019)
(granting Allstate's motion for entry of final judgment
under Rule 54(b) despite similar objection by plaintiffs
because "there is no just reason for delay").
foregoing reasons, Allstate's Motion for Entry of Final
Judgment Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b)
[Doc. # 59] is GRANTED. The Clerk is directed to enter final
judgment in favor of Defendant Allstate Insurance Company as