Daniel Watson v. Robert Adams


UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 4:12-cv-03436-BHH Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. [999781722].. [15-1706]

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Appeal: 15-1706 Doc: 39 Filed: 03/25/2016 Pg: 1 of 6 UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 15-1706 DANIEL WATSON, as Personal Representative of the Estate of David W Watson, deceased, Plaintiff - Appellant, v. ROBERT A ADAMS, in his individual capacity as a police officer with the Town of Chesterfield; ERIC HEWETT, in his individual capacity as Chief of Police for the Town of Chesterfield; LESLIE DAVIS, in his individual capacity as Lance Corporal with the South Carolina Highway Patrol; SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY; CHESTERFIELD, TOWN OF, Defendants – Appellees, and CHESTERFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, at Florence. Bruce H. Hendricks, District Judge. (4:12-cv-03436-BHH) Submitted: March 18, 2016 Decided: March 25, 2016 Before WILKINSON, MOTZ, and THACKER, Circuit Judges. Dismissed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Appeal: 15-1706 Doc: 39 Filed: 03/25/2016 Pg: 2 of 6 Patrick J. McLaughlin, WUKELA LAW FIRM, Florence, South Carolina, Franklin B. Joyner, Jr., JOYNER LAW FIRM, Cheraw, South Carolina, for Appellant. Andrew F. Lindemann, DAVIDSON & LINDEMANN, P.A., Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellees. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. 2 Appeal: 15-1706 Doc: 39 Filed: 03/25/2016 Pg: 3 of 6 PER CURIAM: Daniel Watson (“Watson”), as personal representative of the estate of David Watson (“David”), filed separate wrongful death and survival actions against Robert Adams; Eric Hewitt; Leslie Davis; the South Carolina Department of Public Safety; and the Town of Chesterfield, “Defendants”). South Carolina (collectively, Both cases arose from the same core of operative facts and allegations related to Defendants’ Fourth Amendment violations contends and state prompted consolidated in consent motion, parties and the on law torts David’s district the subject against David, suicide. court ground matter. These pursuant that they In which cases to the involved response Watson to were parties’ the same Defendants’ identical motions in the two actions, the district court granted summary judgment only in the wrongful death action. Watson now seeks to appeal the district court’s denying his motion to alter or amend that judgment. are obliged to inquire sua sponte into matters order Because we of our own appellate jurisdiction, see Feldman v. Law Enf’t Assocs. Corp., 752 F.3d 339, 346 (4th Cir. 2014), we directed the parties to provide supplemental briefing addressing whether this appeal is interlocutory. For the reasons appeal. 3 that follow, we dismiss the Appeal: 15-1706 Doc: 39 We may Filed: 03/25/2016 exercise Pg: 4 of 6 jurisdiction 28 U.S.C. § 1291 (2012), collateral orders, 28 and U.S.C. only over certain § 1292 final orders, interlocutory (2012); Fed. R. Civ. and P. 54(b); Cohen v. Beneficial Indus. Loan Corp., 337 U.S. 541, 54547 (1949). “In the ordinary course a final decision is one that ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment.” Cent. Pension Fund, 134 S. Ct. Ray Haluch Gravel Co. v. 773, 779 (2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). Although the district court has entered judgment in Watson’s wrongful death action, it has not yet issued a final order in the survival action with which it is consolidated. In Eggers v. Clinchfield Coal Co., 11 F.3d 35 (4th Cir. 1993), we adopted a case-by-case approach to determining whether a judgment entered in one of several consolidated cases is final and appealable, relying on concepts of finality encompassed in 28 U.S.C. § 1291. determination must Id. be made at 39. by We seeking recognized guidance that from the several factors, including “whether a case has been consolidated for all purposes, decision such on one as for claim discovery may regarding the other claim.” affect Id. 4 and the trial, rights and of whether the the parties Appeal: 15-1706 Doc: 39 While Filed: 03/25/2016 Watson certification argues under Fed. Pg: 5 of 6 that the R. appeal Civ. is appropriate P. 54(b) and for Braswell Shipyards, Inc. v. Beazer E., Inc., 2 F.3d 1331 (4th Cir. 1993), Watson did not seek, and the district court did not grant, certification for an interlocutory appeal under Rule 54(b) or 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). considerations Nevertheless, underlying Rule Eggers 54(b) acknowledged certification relevant to the finality inquiry presented here. that may be See 11 F.3d at 39 n.5. We have reviewed the parties’ arguments in view of Eggers and Braswell Shipyards interlocutory. Watson’s and conclude wrongful that death and the appeal survival is actions were consolidated in the district court for all purposes. The issues presented in the parties’ original briefs — both related to proximate causation and to the underlying Fourth Amendment issues — are intertwined with those issues still pending before the district court in the survival action. Additionally, while a retrial of the survival action ultimately could be required if the causation issue raised in this appeal was wrongly decided, we find that judicial economy weighs more strongly in favor of postponing judicial review. Accordingly, dispense with we oral dismiss argument for lack because 5 of the jurisdiction. facts and We legal Appeal: 15-1706 Doc: 39 contentions are Filed: 03/25/2016 adequately Pg: 6 of 6 presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process. DISMISSED 6

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