Hartsoe v. State of Montana et al
ORDER denying 67 Motion to Vacate ; denying 67 Motion for Hearing; denying 69 Motion to Vacate ; denying 69 Motion for Hearing. Signed by Judge Dana L. Christensen on 5/17/2017. (APP) Copy mailed to Hartsoe
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
STATE OF MONTANA, et al.,
Pending before the Court are two motions by Plaintiff John Hartsoe
("Hartsoe"). The first motion, dated April 11, 2017, asks the undersigned to
review a motion to vacate (Doc. 42) which was denied by United States Magistrate
Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch on December 21, 2016 (Doc. 48). This first motion also
requests that the Court issue a final ruling on his motions, presumably so that he
may appeal them. The second motion filed by Hartsoe, dated May 8, 2017 (Doc.
69), reiterates his request that the undersigned rule on the April 11, 2017 motion.
First, the Court will deny Hartsoe's request to review Judge Lynch's
December 21, 2016 order denying the motion to vacate. Even if the Court were to
liberally construe Hartsoe's filing as an objection pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b )(1 )(C), i.e., the Magistrates Act, the time to object has long since past. See
L.R. 72.3(b) ("An objection must be filed within 14 days of service of the
magistrate judge's order or findings and recommendation."). Consequently,
Hartsoe's "objection" is untimely and the Court declines to address it.
Second, as discussed, Hartsoe' s April 11, 201 7 motion requests a final order
from which he may appeal. Generally, a court of appeals has "jurisdiction of
appeals from all final decisions of the district courts." 28 U.S.C. § 1291; Spec.
Investments, Inc. v. Aero Air, Inc., 360 F.3d 989, 993 (9th Cir. 2004). "A final
decision is one that ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing for the
court to do but execute the judgment." United States v. Lummi Indian Tribe, 235
F.3d 443, 448 (9th Cir. 2000) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
However, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54 allows a district court to "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 ).
Here, Hartsoe's claims have been resolved against some, but not all, of the
Defendants in this case. (See Docs. 46, 56.) Thus, because some Defendants
remain in this action, there has not been a final judgment issued from which
Hartsoe may appeal. As such, the Court will liberally construe Hartsoe's present
request as a motion for the entry of a final judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 54(b ). The Court will deny this motion, however, because it does
not see a reason to expedite the appeal process at this time. Further, allowing this
case to proceed until all claims against all parties has been resolved will prevent
piecemeal appeals. See Dannenberg v. Software Too/works Inc., 16 F.3d 1073,
1074 (9th Cir. 1994) ("By requiring parties to raise all claims of error in a single
appeal following final judgment on the merits, § 1291 forbids piecemeal
disposition on appeal of what for practical purposes is a single controversy.")
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
Lastly, the Court will also deny Hartsoe's motion dated May 8, 2017
because it essentially seeks the same relief as the motion dated April 17, 2017.
However, construed liberally, the motion could be read to suggest that the
undersigned should recuse himself. (See Doc. 69 at 2 (suggesting that the
undersigned should either rule on the motion or recuse himself).) Hartsoe
previously moved for the undersigned's recusal, which the Court denied. (Doc.
33.) The Court again denies Hartsoe's request for recusal and incorporates and
adopts its previous findings into this Order.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED PlaintiffHartsoe's motions (Docs. 67, 69)
t-:t day of May, 2017.
Dana L. Christensen, Chief Judge
United States District Court
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