Kingsburg Apple Packers, et al, vs. Ballantine Produce Co., Inc. et al,, No. 1:2009cv00901 - Document 257 (E.D. Cal. 2011)

Court Description: ORDER Granting Wagon Wheel's 249 Motion for Final Judgment Against Ballantine signed by Chief Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 04/12/2011. (Flores, E)
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Kingsburg Apple Packers, et al, vs. Ballantine Produce Co., Inc. et al, Doc. 257 1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE 7 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 KINGSBURG APPLE PACKERS, INC. ) D/B/A KINGSBURG ORCHARDS, et. ) al., ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) v. ) ) BALLANTINE PRODUCE CO., INC., ) et. al., ) ) ) Defendants. ) ____________________________________) WAGON WHEEL FARMS, INC., a ) California corporation, ) ) Intervenor Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ) BALLANTINE PRODUCE CO., INC., ) et. al., ) ) Defendants. ) ____________________________________) NO. 1:09-CV-901-AWI-JLT ORDER GRANTING WAGON WHEEL’S MOTION FOR FINAL JUDGMENT AGAINST BALLANTINE [Doc. #249] 23 24 25 BACKGROUND On January 7, 2011, Intervening Plaintiff Wagon Wheel Farms, Inc. (“Wagon Wheel”) 26 moved for summary judgment on its breach of contract claim against Defendant Ballantine 27 Produce Company, Inc. (“Ballantine”). On February 16, 2011, the Court granted Wagon Wheel’s 28 motion for summary judgment. Wagon Wheel now moves for entry of final judgment against Dockets.Justia.com 1 Ballantine under Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Ballantine has not filed an 2 opposition to Wagon Wheel’s motion. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted. 3 4 LEGAL STANDARD Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that final entry of judgment 5 should be made on individual claims in multiple claim suits “upon an express determination that 6 there is no just reason for delay.” In making a determination under Rule 54(b), the court must 7 first determine that it is dealing with a final judgment, which means a decision that is “an 8 ultimate disposition of an individual claim entered in the course of a multiple claims action.” 9 Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1, 7 (1980). Second, the court must determine 10 whether there is any just reason for delay. Id. at 8. “It is left to the sound judicial discretion of 11 the district court to determine the ‘appropriate time’ when each final decision in a multiple 12 claims action is ready for appeal. This discretion is to be exercised ‘in the interest of sound 13 judicial administration.’” Id. A court’s application of Rule 54(b) should preserve “the historic 14 federal policy against piecemeal appeals.” Id. The Ninth Circuit has stated that the appropriate 15 focus for a court’s Rule 54(b) decision is “severability and efficient judicial administration.” 16 Wood v. GCC Bend, LLC, 422 F.3d 873, 880 (9th Cir. 2005). The district court is to make 17 specific findings that set forth the reasons for granting a Rule 54(b) motion. In re Lindsay, 59 18 F.3d 942, 951 (9th Cir. 1995). 19 20 DISCUSSION A Rule 54(b) judgment is appropriate in this case. First, there is a final judgment. The 21 Court granted summary judgment in favor of Wagon Wheel on its breach of contract claim 22 against Ballantine. In addition, concurrently with the motion for final judgment, Wagon Wheel 23 has moved to dismiss all of its remaining claims against Ballantine with prejudice. (Doc. 250 at 24 7.) Thus, with respect to Wagon Wheel and Ballantine, all claims have been finally settled. 25 26 Second, the Court sees no just reason for delay. Wagon Wheel’s claim against Ballantine was based on breach of contract. In contrast, the claims against the remaining Defendants are 27 28 2 1 based on the Defendants improperly taking possession of fruit proceeds and/or using the 2 proceeds to pay other creditors or for other improper purposes. Thus, the claim against 3 Ballantine and the claims against the remaining Defendants are severable. Furthermore, the 4 Court does not see a danger that “piecemeal appeals” will occur. Ballantine has not opposed 5 Wagon Wheel’s motion for final judgment or the previous motion for summary judgment. In 6 addition, the Court granted Wagon Wheel’s motion for summary judgment based on Ballantine’s 7 express admissions in the record. Therefore, the Court concludes that there is no reason to delay 8 entry of final judgment in favor of Wagon Wheel and against Ballantine. 9 CONCLUSION 10 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 11 1. 12 Wagon Wheel’s third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth causes of action against Ballantine are DISMISSED with prejudice; 13 2. Wagon Wheel’s Rule 54(b) Motion for Final Judgment is GRANTED; and 14 3. The clerk is directed to enter final judgment against Ballantine and in favor of 15 Wagon Wheel. 16 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. 18 19 Dated: 0m8i78 April 12, 2011 CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3