Menard v. Grand Isle Shipyard, Inc. et al
ORDER AND REASONS denying 65 Motion for Entry of Judgment under Rule 54(b). Signed by Judge Sarah S. Vance on 4/21/2017. (cg)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
LLOG EXPLORATION COMPANY, LLC,
SECTION “R” (3)
ORDER AND REASONS
Defendants LLOG Exploration Company, LLC; LLOG Exploration
Offshore, LLC; and LLOG Exploration & Production Company, LLC
(collectively, “the LLOG defendants”) move for entry of final judgment
pursuant to rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 1 For the
following reasons, the motion is denied.
Plaintiff Corey Menard was injured when he went via a personnel
basket transfer from the vessel M/V ARABIAN to LLOG’s Delta House
Floating Production System. 2 The Delta House is a semi-submersible oil-
R. Doc. 65.
R. Doc. 62 at 1-2. For a more thorough review of the facts and
history of this case, see id. at 1-3.
exploration platform in the Mississippi Canyon.3 On January 20, 2016,
Menard sued Grand Isle Shipyard, Gibson Applied Technology, and the
LLOG defendants, alleging that their negligence caused his injuries. 4
Plaintiff amended his complaint on June 28, 2016, adding Adriatic Marine,
LLC, the owner and operator of the M/V ARABIAN, and Wood Group
Production Services, Inc., the entity responsible for operations on the Delta
House, as defendants.5
On April 10, 2017, the Court granted the LLOG defendants’ motion for
summary judgment on all of Menard’s claims against them.6 In doing so, the
Court found that there was no evidence of any negligence directly
attributable to the LLOG defendants, and as a matter of law the LLOG
defendants were not liable for any negligent acts allegedly taken by Wood
Group or Adriatic Marine.7
Pursuant to Rule 54(b), the LLOG defendants now move for final
judgment as to Menard’s claims against them. The motion is unopposed.
R. Doc. 1 at 5-7 ¶¶ 14-16.
R. Doc. 26 at 3-4.
R. Doc. 62.
Id. at 11-15.
Rule 54(b) provides, in pertinent part:
When more than one claim for relief is presented in an action,
whether as a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party
claim, or when multiple parties are involved, the court may direct
the entry of a final judgment as to one or more but fewer than all
of the claims or parties only upon an express determination that
there is no just reason for delay and upon an express direction
for the entry of judgment.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). The Fifth Circuit has noted that “[o]ne of the primary
policies behind requiring a justification for Rule 54(b) certification is to avoid
piecemeal appeals.” PYCA Indus., Inc. v. Harrison Cty Waste Mgmt., 81
F.3d 1412, 1421 (5th Cir. 1996). It explained that Rule 54(b) judgments are
not favored and should be awarded only when necessary to avoid injustice:
“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.” Id. (citing Ansam Assocs., Inc. v. Cola Petroleum, Ltd.,
760 F.2d 442, 445 (2d Cir. 1985)).
The threshold inquiry for the Court is whether “there is no just reason
for delay,” a determination that is within the sound discretion of the district
court. See Ackerman v. FDIC, 973 F.2d 1221, 1224 (5th Cir. 1992). In making
this determination, the district court has a duty to weigh “the inconvenience
and costs of piecemeal review on the one hand and the danger of denying
justice by delay on the other.” Road Sprinkler Fitters Local Union v.
Continental Sprinkler Co., 967 F.2d 145, 148 (5th Cir. 1992) (quoting
Dickinson v. Petroleum Conversion Corp., 338 U.S. 507, 511 (1950)). A
major factor the district court should consider is whether the appellate court
“‘would have to decide the same issues more than once even if there were
subsequent appeals.’” H & W Indus., Inc. v. Formosa Plastics Corp., USA,
860 F.2d 172, 175 (5th Cir. 1988) (quoting Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec.
Co., 446 U.S. 1, 8 (1980)).
After weighing the appropriate factors, the Court finds that
certification is inappropriate in this case. The LLOG defendants fail to
convince the Court that “there exists some danger of hardship or injustice
through delay which would be alleviated by immediate appeal.” PYCA
Indus., 81 F.3d at 1421 (holding that the district court abused its discretion
by certifying an appeal without a finding of hardship). The LLOG defendants
argue that there may be a significant delay in the ultimate resolution of this
matter because plaintiff may need surgery, in which case he will move for a
continuance of the trial. 8 This delay, according to the LLOG defendants, will
cause them to incur “unnecessary delay and expense to monitor the
R. Doc. 65-1 at 5.
continuing litigation.”9 This “hardship” is present in every case in which
claims are dismissed against some defendants but not others, and does not
indicate that this is the sort of “infrequent hard case” that Rule 54(b) was
designed to address. See Jasmin v. Dumas, 726 F.2d 242, 244 (5th Cir.
1984); Tow v. Bulmahn, No. 15-3141, 2016 WL 3554720, at *2 (E.D. La. June
Further, that this motion is unopposed does not alter the Court’s
conclusion. The Fifth Circuit requires a searching inquiry into the grounds
for 54(b) motions and has dismissed appeals when a district court abuses its
discretion by summarily certifying a claim. See, e.g., PYCA Indus., 81 F.3d
at 1421; see also Peace Lake Towers, Inc. v. Indian Harbor Ins. Co., No. 064522, 2007 WL 1166058, at *1-2 (E.D. La. Apr. 18, 2007) (denying
unopposed Rule 54(b) motion).
Id. at 6.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES the motion for entry of
final judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b).
New Orleans, Louisiana, this _____ day of April, 2017.
SARAH S. VANCE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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