United States District Court, D. Arizona
HONORABLE SUSAN M. BRNOVICH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendants S&C Claims Services, Inc.
(“S&C”) and Randi Kerner's
(“Kerner”) Motion for Rule 54(b) Judgment. (Doc.
62). Plaintiff opposes the motion. (Doc. 64).
54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure reads as
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. 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.
Court must first determine that a “final
judgment” has been rendered and then determine whether
there is any just reason for delay. Wood v. GCC Bend,
LLC, 422 F.3d 873, 878 (9th Cir. 2005). In considering
whether certification under Rule 54(b) is appropriate, the
Court is to consider whether the claims under review are
separable legally and factually, and whether granting the
Rule 54(b) request might result in multiple appellate
decisions or duplicate proceedings on the same issues.
Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. General Elec. Co., 446 U.S.
1, 8 (1980). The Rule was adopted “specifically to
avoid the possible injustice of delaying judgment on a
distinctly separate claim pending adjudication of the entire
case. . .” The Rule thus aimed to augment, not
diminish, appeal opportunity.” Gelboim v. Bank of
Am. Corp., 135 S.Ct. 897, 902-03 (2015) (internal
quotation marks, alterations, and citations omitted).
case arises out of Plaintiff Jeanette Centeno's
workers' compensation claim filed with American Liberty
Insurance Company (“ALIC”). In regard to the
handling of her workers' compensation claim, Plaintiff
alleges that the wrongful conduct of ALIC, S&C, and
Kerner includes failing to conduct a reasonable
investigation, failing to timely recognize Plaintiff's
compensable injury, failing to accept undisputed medical
evidence, denying the existence and/or extent of injury
without input of competent individuals, creating pretextual
reasons to deny and/or delay payment, ignoring and refusing
to consider information favorable to Plaintiff, and failing
to ensure that the industry's best practices were applied
claims against Defendants S&C and Kerner were dismissed
on February 12, 2019. (Doc. 60). The claims were dismissed on
a legal issue when the Court found that aiding and abetting
required some separate conduct by S&C and Kerner and none
was alleged. Additionally, the Court found that a breach of
the duty of good faith and fair dealing required a
contractual relationship and dismissed that claim as to
S&C because there was no contractual relationship with
Plaintiff. The remaining claim is against ALIC for breach of
the duty of good faith and fair dealing.
argues that the Court should not enter final judgment because
the aiding and abetting claims are secondary torts that
require primary tortious conduct and so appellate review of
the aiding and abetting claims may never be necessary. (Doc.
64). Plaintiff relies on the ruling in Wood v. GCC Bend,
LLC, 422 F.3d 873 (9th Cir. 2005). However, that
decision is distinguishable from the present case. In
Wood, the court dismissed several claims and left
several claims remaining. Both the dismissed and live claims
revolved around alleged employment discrimination. The
dismissed claims were based on a different theory of adverse
treatment rather than a separate and distinct claim. Here the
dismissed claims are based on a separate legal theory and
against distinct defendants and involve a threshold issue
that does not apply to the remaining defendant.
Court finds that there is no just reason for delay, and
accordingly, IT IS ORDERED granting
Defendants S&C Services, Inc. and Randi Kerner's
Motion for Rule 54(b) Judgment. (Doc. 62).
IS FURTHER ORDERED that final judgment is entered in
favor of Defendant S&C Claims Services, Inc. and ...