United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
W. deGRAVELLES JUDGE.
case concerns the alleged death by suicide of Darnell Bailey
(“Darnell”) while in the care of the Eastern
Louisiana Mental Health System (“ELMHS”) for
competency restoration prior to trial. (Doc. 55 at 2, 4).
Plaintiff Shantel Bailey (“Plaintiff”) sued the
Louisiana Department of Health (“LDH”); Hampton
“Steve” Lea, the CEO of ELMHS; Ronald Johnson,
the head of security for ELMHS; and numerous
“Correctional Guard Therapeutics”
(“CGTs”) at ELMHS, including Jerelyn Thornton,
Reginald Davis, Khonisha Wilson, Ronnie Bradford, Karen
Brown, Jimmie Delk, and Reuban Scott. (Id. at 1-2).
order of March 13, 2018, the Court dismissed, inter
alia, Plaintiff's claims against Brown and Bradford.
(Id. at 33). Although leave to amend was granted
with respect to certain claims, Plaintiff did not file an
amended complaint, and the Court accordingly entered
judgement in favor of Brown and Bradford. (Docs. 60, 61).
and Bradford now move to certify the judgments in their favor
as final, appealable judgments pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 54(b). (Docs. 62, 64). Brown argues chiefly
that there is “no just reason for delay” because
she was a “uniquely situated defendant, ” as
Plaintiff's claims against her pertained to her conduct
following Darnell's alleged suicide. (Doc. 62-1 at 4-5).
Bradford adopts by reference the authority cited in
Brown's motion and otherwise makes few arguments in
support of certification aside from noting that all claims
against him have been dismissed. (Doc. 64-1 at 1-2).
opposes both motions via single opposition. (Doc. 67).
Plaintiff argues that: (1) discovery in this case is ongoing
and may result in a motion for leave to amend to “bring
these two defendants back into the suit”; (2) the
underlying facts regarding Brown and Bradford are
“intertwined with the facts of the case in general,
” and an appellate court might review the same facts
twice if appeal is permitted now; (3) Brown and Bradford have
not shown any particular hardship or injustice arising from
waiting for a final judgment; and (4) a pretrial resolution
of this case via settlement could moot any need for an
appeal. (Id. at 1-5). With respect to her first
contention, Plaintiff argues that Bradford's actions were
“perhaps the primary cause of Darnell's untimely
death, and are at the core of her ADA/RA claims against
ELHMS, ” while Brown attempted to “cover
up” Bradford's actions following Darnell's
death and discovery may reveal that she was “more
involved in the events leading up to his death than it
appears at the current time.” (Id. at 4).
reply emphasizes that, according to Plaintiff's
opposition, Bradford's actions (not Brown's) were the
primary cause of Plaintiff's death. (Doc. 69 at 1-2).
Brown further argues that the complaint provides no support
for the “possibility” of a “pre-death cover
up.” (Id. at 2). Bradford's reply
emphasizes that Plaintiff has failed to state any viable
claims against Bradford or overcome his qualified immunity
defense. (Doc. 72 at 1-2).
action presents more than one claim for relief or involves
multiple parties, Rule 54(b) allows a district court to
“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.” See also PYCA Indus., Inc. v. Harrison Cty.
Waste Water Mgmt. Dist., 81 F.3d 1412, 1421 (5th Cir.
1996) (“A district court should grant certification
only when there exists some danger of hardship or injustice
through delay which would be alleviated by immediate appeal;
it should not be entered routinely as a courtesy to
counsel.”). Rule 54(b) balances two policies: avoiding
the danger of hardship or injustice through delay which would
be alleviated by immediate appeal and avoiding piecemeal
appeals. Eldredge v. Martin Marietta Corp., 207 F.3d
737, 740 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing PYCA Indus., Inc.,
81 F.3d at 1421). Accordingly, in evaluating a motion under
Rule 54(b), a court must weigh these considerations against
each other. See Rd. Sprinkler Fitters Local Union v.
Cont'l Sprinkler Co., 967 F.2d 145, 148 (5th Cir.
1992). A “major factor” the district court should
consider is whether the appellate court would have to decide
the same issues more than once even if there were subsequent
appeals. Ichinose v. Travelers Flood Ins., 2007 WL
1799673, at *2 (E.D. La. June 21, 2007) (Vance, J.).
Brown nor Bradford has demonstrated that relief under Rule
54(b) is warranted. As Plaintiff correctly observes, neither
Brown nor Bradford has made any showing of hardship or
injustice that would result from failure to certify. That
alone is fatal to the motions. See PYCA Indus.,
Inc., 81 F.3d at 1421. Plaintiff is also correct that an
appeal from a final judgment in this case will likely involve
duplicative review of the same facts and some of the same
legal issues that would likely ...