United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON MOTION FOR FINAL JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter before the Court is the Plaintiff Jeremiah
Marshall's (“Marshall”), Motion to Direct
Entry on Final Judgment Pursuant to FRCP 54(b). (Filing
No. 22.) For the following reasons, Marshall's
motion is DENIED.
student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
(“IUPUI”), Marshall was suspended, expelled and
banned from all Indiana University (“IU”)
campuses, following accusations of sexual assault by a female
student which were made on September 7, 2014. In the course
of the investigation and during a meeting with the Assistant
Director of Student Conduct, Maria Hinton, on September 22,
2014; Marshall reported that he also had been sexually
assaulted by a female student. The Defendants never
investigated Marshall's allegations. Instead, he was
excluded from participating in, and denied the benefits of an
education at IUPUI. Marshall asserts that the fact that he,
as a male student, was investigated and a female student,
with a very similar set of facts, was not investigated easily
meets the “particularized allegation that would allow
the court to infer a casual connection between his treatment
and gender bias.” (Filing No. 14 at 27).
April 6, 2015, Marshall filed an action in the Marion
Superior Court, which was removed to this court. The
Complaint alleges Counts I and III: due process violations,
Count II: violation of Marshall's rights under Title IX,
Counts IV and V: violations of Marshall's rights to free
speech, and Count VI: violation of Marshall's Fourth,
Fifth, or Fourteenth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983.
On May 15, 2016, the Court granted in part and denied in part
the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (Filing No.
21.) In particular, the Court dismissed with prejudice
Marshall's due process claims, free speech claims,
Section 1983 claim and claims against all individual
Defendants. Id. at 14. However, the Court did not
dismiss Marshall's Title IX claim and Section 1988 claim
against IU and IUPUI. Id. Marshall now seeks a final
judgment with regards to those claims that the Court
dismissed with prejudice so that he may seek appellate
review. (Filing No. 22.)
28 U.S.C. § 1291, federal appellate courts “have
jurisdiction over all final decisions of the district courts
of the United States, and orders resolving fewer than all the
claims in a case are not ‘final' for purposes of an
appeal.” General Ins. Co. v. Clark Mall Corp.,
644 F.3d 375, 379 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal quotations
omitted). However, Fed. Rule Civ. P. 54(b) provides the
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 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). If there has been such a final
judgment, then the district court has the discretion to
decide whether to enter judgment on a portion of the case
under Rule 54(b). Horwitz v. Alloy
Auto. Co., 957 F.2d 1431, 1433 (7th Cir.
1992). The appellate court, however, has placed some limits
on the district courts discretion. Id. A
certification under Rule 54(b) must satisfy three
prerequisites for the appellate court to obtain jurisdiction.
The claim certified must be separate from the remaining
claims, and the judgment entered on the certified claim must
be final under 28 U.S.C. § 1291.
Further, the district court must expressly determine that
there is “no just reason for delay.” ODC
Commc'ns Corp. v. Wenruth Invs., 826 F.2d 509,
511-12 (7th Cir. 1987).
making the first determination, the district court is mindful
that partial final judgment may be entered only when all of
one party's claims or rights have been fully adjudicated
or when a distinct claim has been fully resolved with respect
to all parties. Officer v. AS Chase Ins. Life &
Annuity Co., 500 F.Supp.2d 1083, 1086 (N.D. Ind.
2007). In this regard, Rule 54(b) allows appeal of claims
that are truly separate and distinct from those that remain
pending in the district court, where “separate”
means having “minimal factual overlap”.
Lottie v. W. Am. Ins. Co., of Ohio Cas. Grp. of Ins.
Cos., 408 F.3d 935, 939 (7th Cir. 2005) (“[t]he
test for separate claims under [Rule 54(b)] is whether the
claim that is contended to be separate so overlaps the claim
or claims that have been retained for trial, that if the
latter were to give rise to a separate appeal at the end of
the case, the court would have to go over the same ground
that it had covered in the first appeal.”). In making
the final determination, the district court must consider
whether “there is no just reason for delay, ”
based on the effects that a delay of an appeal would have on
the parties. See ODC Commc'ns Corp.,
826 F.2d at 511-12.
the first determination, Marshall is correct that the prior
order was a final judgment on Marshall's due process
claims, free speech claims, and Section 1983 claim.
(Filing No. 21 at 14.) Those claims were dismissed
with prejudice against all parties. Id.
respect to the second determination, a Rule 54(b) judgment is
employed only when the subjects of the partial judgment do
not overlap with those remaining before the district court.
Factory Mut. Ins. Co. v. Bobst Group USA, Inc., 2392
F.3d 922, 924 (7th Cir. 2004). Thus, the Court
must determine whether the evidence pertaining to the
dismissed due process, violation of free speech and violation
of the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
Constitution claims overlap as a practical matter, with the
evidence pertaining to the Title IX claims against IUPUI and
support of his argument that the claims do not overlap,
Marshall explains that when he wanted to take the deposition
of Maria Hinton, the parties agreed to limit the deposition
topics to the legal claims still remaining in the lawsuit and
the Defendants separately agreed that “Plaintiff could
hold the deposition open and resume Ms. Hinton's
deposition on the other claims if they were ever
revived.” (SeeFiling No. 26 at 2).
Marshall asserts that Defendants cannot have it both ways,
arguing that the claims are factually distinct during
discovery and arguing that they are factually similar for the
purposes of entering final judgment. Defendants respond that the
parties' agreement to limit discovery is “an
ordinary and appropriate action” which provides no
guidance as to whether Plaintiff has met his burden for entry
of a partial final judgment. (Filing No. 29 ...