United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER: (1) GRANTING REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF RULE 54(b) JUDGMENT [ECF No. 212] and (2) DENYING JOINT MOTION TO STAY [ECF No. 218]
GONZALO P. CURIEL, District Judge.
Before the Court are Plaintiff's request for entry of judgment as to its dismissed federal antitrust claims pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (ECF No. 212) and Defendants' joint motion to stay the case, if the Court grants Plaintiff's motion (ECF No. 218). Defendant SourceAmerica, as well as all of the dismissed Defendants, also filed a statement of non-opposition to Plaintiff's request. (ECF No. 218.) Having reviewed the briefing, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's request for entry of judgment (ECF No. 212) and DENIES Defendants' joint motion to stay the case (ECF No. 218).
In its First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), Plaintiff alleged nine antitrust claims in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, and Section 8 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 19 against Defendant SourceAmerica and various non-profit and for-profit entities, and breach of contract against SourceAmerica. Plaintiff contends Defendants rigged the process through which service providers may compete for government contracts through the federal "AbilityOne Program." (ECF No. 128, FAC ¶¶ 1-2, 6.) Plaintiff's breach of contract claim stems from a settlement agreement Plaintiff and SourceAmerica entered into following two bid protests Plaintiff lodged with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. ( Id. at 86-93.) The settlement agreement required (among other things) that SourceAmerica "reasonably monitor" Plaintiff's participation in the AbilityOne Program for three years and use "best efforts" to treat Plaintiff fairly and afford them equal access to services. ( Id. )
Defendants filed ten separate motions to dismiss the FAC. (ECF Nos. 138, 140, 141, 143, 144, 148, 149, 150, 155, 159.) Defendant SourceAmerica did not move to dismiss Plaintiff's claim for breach of contract. ( See ECF No. 141-1.) By order dated January 6, 2015, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's causes of action against Defendants for violations of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and for violation of Section 8 of the Clayton Act in their entirety for failure to state a claim, but granted Plaintiff thirty days to file a second amended complaint. (ECF No. 189.)
On February 3, 2015, Plaintiff moved for certification of the order for 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) interlocutory appeal and for a stay of the proceedings so that it might seek review of the Court's January 6, 2015 order. (ECF No 195.) The Court denied Plaintiff's motion on March 4, 2015. (ECF No. 206.) Having been granted an extension of time, Plaintiff had until fifteen days after the Court's entry of the March 4, 2015 order to file a second amended complaint. (ECF No. 200.) In lieu of a second amended complaint, Plaintiff timely filed a document entitled Notice of Intent Not to File Second Amended Complaint and Request for Entry of Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b) Judgment on Dismissed Claims. (ECF No. 212.)
A. Entry of Judgment Pursuant to Rule 54(b)
Plaintiff seeks a Rule 54(b) entry of judgment as to the first nine claims of is FAC, which all allege antitrust violations. (ECF No. 212 at 2.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) states:
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). In evaluating whether dismissal of one or more claims under Rule 54(b) is appropriate, the "district court must first determine that it is dealing with a final judgment.'" Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1, 7 (1980). For a judgment to be "final, " it must be "an ultimate disposition of an individual claim entered in the course of a multiple claims action." Id. (quoting Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Mackey, 351 U.S. 427, 436 (1956)).
Once this element is satisfied, the district court must evaluate "whether there is any just reason for delay." Id. at 8. The Supreme Court has made clear that "[n]ot all final judgments on individual claims should be immediately appealable." Id. For this reason, "[i]t is left to the sound judicial discretion of the district court to determine the appropriate time' when each final decision in a multiple claims action is ready for appeal." Id. Evaluation of whether there are just reasons to delay "must take into account judicial administrative interests as well as the equities involved." Id. "Consideration of the former is necessary to assure that application of the Rule effectively preserves the historic federal policy against piecemeal appeals.'" Id. ( quoting Sears, Roebuck, 351 U.S. at 438). In this vein, the district court may properly consider "whether the claims under review were separable from the others remaining to be adjudicated and whether the nature of the claims already determined was such that no appellate court would have to decide the same issues more than once even if there were subsequent appeals." Id.
Unlike in most cases where a Rule 54(b) judgment is sought, the question of whether the district court is dealing with a final judgment is not a perfunctory one in this case. "A decision is final... if it ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment.'" Az. State Carpenters Pension Trust Fund v. Miller, 938 F.2d 1038, 1039 (9th Cir.1991) ( quoting Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. v. Mayacamas Corp., 485 U.S. 271, 275 (1988) (internal quotation omitted)). This Court dismissed Plaintiff's antitrust claims with express leave to amend within thirty days. An order granting leave to amend a dismissed complaint does not constitute a final judgment. Jung v. K. & D. Min. Co., 356 U.S. 335, 336-37 (1958) (per curium); WMX Tech., Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136-37 (9th Cir. 1997) (holding that "when a district court expressly grants leave to amend, it is plain that order is not final"). Rather, "another order of absolute dismissal after expiration of the time allowed for amendment is required to make a final disposition of the cause." ...