United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RULE 54(B)
CERTIFICATION (ECF NO. 42)
TERRENCE G. BERG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ehsan Ouza sued Defendants City of Dearborn Heights, Officer
Jordan Dottor, and Officer Gene Derwick, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, for allegedly violating her
constitutional rights. Specifically, Plaintiff argued that
Defendants violated her right to be free from unlawful
arrest, unreasonable searches and seizures, and excessive
force. Plaintiff also argued that Dearborn Heights unlawfully
failed to train its police officers on proper use of
handcuffs and establishment of probable cause. On January 28,
2019, the Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment in part, finding that the individual officers had
qualified immunity from the alleged violations of
Plaintiff's rights on the unlawful arrest (Count I)
ground. ECF No. 37. The Court also granted Defendants summary
judgment on the unreasonable search and seizure (Count II)
and municipal liability (Count IV) claims, finding that no
reasonable jury could find for Plaintiff. Id. The
Court denied Defendants summary judgment on Plaintiff's
excessive force claim (Count III). Id.
exercised their right to interlocutory appeal of this
Court's denial of summary judgment on Count III. Notice
of Appeal, ECF No. 40. Plaintiff filed a Motion for
Certificate of Appealability, seeking to appeal the claims on
which the Court granted summary judgment to Defendants. ECF
No. 42. Defendants responded indicating they have no
objection to certifying Counts I, II, and IV for
appealability. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
GRANTS Plaintiff's motion.
Standard of Review
an order disposing of some, but not all, claims in a case is
not a final judgment and therefore not appealable.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b) outlines the exception to this rule:
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.
certification under Rule 54(b) is a two-step process.”
Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region v. Dewine,
696 F.3d 490, 500 (6th Cir. 2012). First, the Court must
determine whether an action has more than one claim or
party-and whether the Court's Order disposes of fewer
than all the claims or parties. Id. Second, the
Court engages in a balancing test to find whether there is no
just reason for delaying entry of a final judgment.
Id. at 503 (citing Corrossioneering, Inc. v.
Thyssen Envtl. Sys., Inc., 807 F.2d 1279, 1283 (6th Cir.
Court's January 28, 2019 Order disposed of three of four
counts of Plaintiff's Complaint. These three counts are
separate from the fourth. And under the
Corrossioneering factors, there is no just reason to
delay entry of a final judgment as to the three counts on
which the Court granted Defendants summary judgment.
Multiple claims or multiple parties
“there is no ‘generally accepted test' for
determining what constitutes” multiple claims in a
case, the Sixth Circuit “has traditionally applied the
‘operative facts' test.” Id. at 500
(internal citations omitted). The operative facts test treats
a claim as “the aggregate of operative facts which give
rise to a right enforceable in the courts even if the party
has raised different theories of relief.” Gen-Corp,
Inc. v. Olin Corp., 390 F.3d 433, 442 (6th Cir. 2004).
If two different theories of relief rest on proving
substantially the same facts, those theories of relief are
not separate claims for purposes of Rule 54(b), though they
may be separate counts in a complaint. The four counts in
Plaintiff's Complaint relate broadly to her arrest on
December 18, 2014. But each count seeks relief on a different
set of operative facts.
adjudication of Plaintiff's false arrest claim depends on
the facts and circumstances available to the officers that
did or did notestablish probable cause to arrest her.
Brooks v. Rothe, 577 F.3d 701, 706 (6th Cir. 2009).
The aggregate operative facts for this claim include witness
statements, the officers' interview with Plaintiff, and
their observations at the scene, among others. Second,
Plaintiff's unlawful search and seizure claim relies on
facts about express or implied consent to enter
Plaintiff's home. Smith v. City of Wyoming, 821
F.3d 697, 709 (6th Cir. 2016). Third, Plaintiff's
excessive force claim is based on facts about her complaints
to the Defendants about handcuffs being too tight,
Defendants' alleged failure to loosen them, and the
injuries she sustained as a result. Morrison v. Bd. of
Trustees of Green Twp., 583 F.3d 394, 401 (6th Cir.
2009). Finally, Plaintiff's municipal liability claim
relies on facts about officer supervision and training.
Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 385 (1989).
Plaintiff's claims arise out of her arrest in 2014, all
four rely on different aggregate sets of operative facts to
show her entitlement to relief. Therefore, the Court's
January 28, 2019 Order granted summary judgment to Defendants
on three out of four distinct claims, satisfying the first
prong of the 54(b) test.
No. just reason to delay ...