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Callaway Golf Co. v. King Sports

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


July 15, 2008

CALLAWAY GOLF COMPANY, A DELAWARE CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KING SPORTS, INC. KING SPORTS, INC., A GEORGIA CORPORATION, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: M. James Lorenz United States District Court Judge

ORDER DISMISSING DEFENDANT ON THE STIPULATED TERMS AND DENYING IN PART JOINT MOTION

On July 11, 2008, Plaintiff and Defendant King Sports, Inc. ("King Sports") filed a Stipulation for Entry of Final Judgment, Permanent Injunction and Order Thereon as to King Sports, Inc. ("Joint Motion"). For the reasons which follow, the Joint Motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.

In this patent and trademark infringement, breach of contract, and business tort action, Plaintiff and Defendant King Sports entered into a settlement agreement. The parties stipulated to certain findings of fact, a permanent injunction against King Sports, and entry of a final judgment. A similar settlement agreement was entered into between Plaintiff and Defendants AT Golf and Kevin Chang. (See Order filed May 5, 2008.) Although these parties have settled their dispute, the case continues against Defendant M&M Golf, Inc. who is not a party to either settlement.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) provides in pertinent part: Judgment on Multiple Claims or Involving Multiple Parties. When an action presents more than one claim relief . . . 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. . ..

The power to enter partial final judgment "is largely discretionary, to be exercised in light of judicial administrative interests as well as the equities involved, and giving due weight to the historic federal policy against piecemeal appeals." Reiter v. Cooper, 507 U.S. 258, 265 (1993)(citations and quotation marks omitted). In Morrison-Knudsen Co., Inc. v. Archer, the Ninth Circuit elaborated on the requirements of Rule 54(b):

Judgments under Rule 54(b) must be reserved for the unusual case in which the costs and risks of multiplying the number of proceedings and of overcrowding the appellate docket are outbalanced by pressing needs of the litigants for an early and separate judgment as to some claims or parties. The trial court should not direct entry of judgment under Rule 54(b) unless it has made specific findings setting forth the reasons for its order. Those findings should include a determination whether, upon any review of the judgment entered under the rule, the appellate court will be required to address legal or factual issues that are similar to those contained in the claims still pending before the trial court. A similarity of legal or factual issues will weigh heavily against entry of judgment under the rule, and in such cases a Rule 54(b) order will be proper only where necessary to avoid a harsh and unjust result, documented by further and specific findings.

655 F.2d 962, 965 (9th Cir. 1981).

The parties stipulated, without elaborating, that "there is no just reason for delay in entering a final judgment." This is insufficient for the court to make the necessary specific findings outlined in Morrison-Knudsen.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED as follows:

1. The parties' request for entry of final judgment is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to incorporating the terms of their settlement into the final judgment at the conclusion of the case in its entirety.

2. All claims asserted against Defendant King Sports, Inc. are hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE on the terms specified in the Joint Motion filed July 11, 2008 and in the parties' settlement agreement.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20080715

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