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Thames v. City of Westland

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 18, 2018

KIMBERLY THAMES, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF WESTLAND, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ENTRY OF JUDGMENT AND REQUEST FOR EXPEDITED REVIEW (Doc. 55)

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit arises out of Plaintiff Kimberly Thames' arrest when she was protesting outside an abortion clinic and her weekend detention at a City of Westland jail. Now before the court is Plaintiff Kimberly Thames' motion for entry of judgment and request for certification of interlocutory appeal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion shall be GRANTED.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff brought her § 1983 suit against ten defendants. Three of the defendants, Northland Family Clinic, Inc., Renee Chelian, and Mary Guilbernat, were dismissed after Plaintiff accepted an offer of judgment. The remaining six defendants: the City of Westland, the Westland Chief of Police, and four Westland officers involved in her arrest, brought a motion for summary judgment. The tenth defendant, the clinic's security guard, was named only as a John Doe defendant and was never identified or served by Plaintiff. Plaintiff also filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment as to liability only. On April 20, 2018, the court granted in part and denied in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the City of Westland and its Chief of Police, Jeff Jedrusik, finding no basis for municipal or supervisory liability. The court also dismissed the John Doe defendant. The court denied qualified immunity to the officers involved in the arrest, Jason Soulliere, John Gatti, Adam Tardif, and Sergeant Norman Brooks, as to Plaintiff's wrongful arrest claim. The court granted qualified immunity in favor of Officers Soulliere and Tardif on Plaintiff's retaliatory arrest and equal protection claims, but denied qualified immunity on these same claims as to Officer Gatti and Sergent Brooks. The court also denied Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment.

         On May 18, 2018, the remaining Defendants filed an appeal of the denial of qualified immunity. Plaintiff filed a cross-appeal. Now before the court is Plaintiff's motion for entry of judgment in favor of City of Westland and Police Chief Jedrusik pursuant to Rule 54(b) so that Plaintiff can file an immediate appeal of this final judgment, consolidating it with the appeal and cross-appeal currently pending in the Sixth Circuit.

         II. Standard of Law

         A district court may certify an issue for interlocutory appeal prior to the ultimate disposition of a case pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). See Lowery v. Fed. Express Corp., 426 F.3d 817, 820-21 (6th Cir. 2005). Specifically, Rule 54(b) provides:

(b) Judgment on Multiple Claims or Involving Multiple Parties. 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). When multiple parties are involved, as here, the court must first determine that it may enter final judgment as to one or more, but fewer than all the parties, and second, must determine that there is no just reason to delay appellate review. Planned Parenthood Sw. Ohio Region v. DeWine, 696 F.3d 490, 500 (6th Cir. 2012) (citing Gen. Acquisition, Inc. v. GenCorp, Inc., 23 F.3d 1022, 1026 (6th Cir. 1994)).

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff has satisfied the court that it has met both prongs of the analysis. First, it is clear that the court has granted summary judgment in favor of the City of Westland and Police Chief Jedrusik and dismissed them from the case. A “final judgment” may enter when a decision of the court is the “ultimate disposition” of one or more, but fewer than all, of the parties in a case. Lowery, 426 F.3d at 821. Because the court's April 20, 2018 order ultimately disposed of two or the original ten defendants, it is appropriate for the court to enter final judgment in favor of the City of Westland and Police Chief Jedrusik.

         The court next considers whether it should find no just reason for delay and certify the dismissal of these Defendants for appellate review pursuant to Rule 54(b). In order to make this determination, the Sixth Circuit has identified a non-exhaustive list of five factors which the court must consider:

(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 ...

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