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Oleum America LLC v. Stelly

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana

April 10, 2019

OLEUM AMERICA LLC
v.
VIRGIE STELLY ET AL.

         SECTION: “H”

          ORDER AND REASONS

          Jane Triche Milazzo, United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration or Entry of Final Judgment (Doc. 28). For the following reasons, the Motion is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Oleum America, LLC (“Oleum”) brought this action seeking a declaration that a lease agreement with Defendants remained in effect. Defendants sought a declaration that the agreement had been terminated and that Plaintiff was trespassing on their property.[1] After considering summary judgment motions from both parties, this Court ruled in Defendants' favor and held that the lease had terminated on October 15, 2017. It did not, however, enter summary judgment on Defendants' trespass claim because Defendants failed to carry their burden to prove such. That claim remains pending before this Court.

         Shortly after this Court entered judgment in Defendants' favor, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration, or in the alternative, for Entry of a Final Judgment. The Court considers its arguments below.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Motion for Reconsideration

         A Motion for Reconsideration of an interlocutory order is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), which states that: “[A]ny order or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.” “Under Rule 54(b), ‘the trial court is free to reconsider and reverse its decision for any reason it deems sufficient, even in the absence of new evidence or an intervening change in or clarification of the substantive law.'”[2]“‘[T]he power to reconsider or modify interlocutory rulings is committed to the discretion of the district court, and that discretion is not cabined by the heightened standards for reconsideration' governing final orders.'”[3]

         B. Motion for Entry of Judgment

         Rule 54(b) states that:

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.

         According to the Fifth Circuit, “[o]ne of the primary policies behind requiring a justification for Rule 54(b) certification is to avoid piecemeal appeals.”[4] Rule 54(b) judgments are not favored and should be awarded only when necessary to avoid injustice.[5] “A district court should grant certification [in a Rule 54(b) case] 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.”[6] The threshold inquiry for this Court, then, is whether “there is no just reason for delay.”[7] This determination is within the sound discretion of the district court.[8] In making this determination, the district court must weigh “the inconvenience and costs of piecemeal review” against “the danger of denying justice by delay.”[9]

         LAW ...


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