Griffin v. Archbold Medical Center, Inc.

Filing 22

ORDER for Response from Defendant as to whether it will proceed against Third-Party Defendant. Response to Court due no later than ten (10) days from this date. Ordered by Judge Hugh Lawson on 5/14/2009. (nbp)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA VALDOSTA DIVISION BRENDA GRIFFIN, Plaintiff, v. ARCHBOLD MEDICAL CENTER, INC., Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff, v. KELVIN REDDICK, Third-Party Defendant. ___________________________________ : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : Civil Action No. 7:08-cv-54(HL) ORDER On May 6, 2009, Plaintiff Brenda Griffin filed a Notice of Acceptance of Offer of Judgment (Doc. 21). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, once an offer of judgment is accepted, the offer of judgment, notice of acceptance, and proof of service may be filed with the Court by either party. In order to complete the record, Defendant Archbold Medical Center, Inc. is directed to file the offer of judgment, notice of acceptance, and proof of service within ten (10) days of the date of this Order. W hi l e a Rule 68 offer of judgment is normally self-executing, in that a judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant is automatically entered, the situation before the Court is not so simple. Also pending is a Third-Party Complaint for indemnification against Third-Party Defendant Kelvin Reddick. Rule 68 does not speak to the effect of an offer of judgment that does not include all of the parties and dispose of all of the claims in the case. Instead, the Court must look to Rule 54, which provides in pertinent part: W hen an action presents more than one claim for relief - whether as a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or thirdparty 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. Otherwise, any 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. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). "Interpreting Rule 68 in light of Rule 54, it appears that for an offer of judgment to result in a final judgment and termination of the case, the offer must include all claims and all parties. If it does not, then the Court may direct the entry of a final judgment as to fewer than all claims or parties." Acceptance Indem. Ins. Co. v. Southeastern Forge, Inc., 209 F.R.D. 697, 699 (M.D.Ga.2002) (emphasis in original). W hile the terms of the offer of judgment may resolve the multiple party issue, that information is not available to the Court at this time. Defendant Archbold is directed to let the Court know within ten (10) days whether it intends to proceed with its Third-Party Complaint against Third-Party Defendant Kelvin Reddick. The Clerk of Court is not to file a final judgment against any party until he receives further instruction from the Court. SO ORDERED, this the 14th day of May, 2009. s/ Hugh Lawson HUGH LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE mbh

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