United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. SHERIDAN, U.S.D.J.
before the Court is Plaintiff Pet Gifts USA's Motion for
Final Judgment (Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b)). (ECF No. 119).
Defendants oppose this motion because there are remaining
counterclaims to be litigated and which may result in
piecemeal litigation and appeals.
facts have been recounted in the Court's March 29, 2018
Memorandum and Order. At its core, the case involves
allegations by two competing printing companies involved in
the business of creating novelty car magnets (such as dog
bones), that each had copied the other's purported
designs. In the Court's prior Memorandum and Order, it
granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment dismissal
of Count VI of Plaintiff s Complaint,  which alleged
trade dress infringement under N.J.S.A. § 56:4-1. As a
result, Defendants' counterclaims, alleging trade dress
infringement, defamation, and trade libel, remain. These
counterclaims all arise from the same factual allegations
discussed in the summary judgment memorandum.
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) provides a mechanism for
rendering a partial final judgment as to some, but not all,
parties or claims in a single action." Hill v. City
of Scranton, 411 F.3d 118, 124 (3d Cir. 2005). The Rule
provides, "[w]hen an action presents more than one claim
for relief... 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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). "A decision to certify
a final decision under Rule 54(b) involves two separate
findings: (1) there has been a final judgment on the merits,
i.e., an ultimate disposition on a cognizable claim for
relief; and (2) there is 'no just reason for
delay.'" Berckeley Inv. Grp., Ltd. v.
Colkitt, 455 F.3d 195, 202 (3d Cir. 2006) (quoting
Curtiss- Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec. Corp.,
446 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1980)). "Courts must use their
discretion to ensure that application of Rule 54(b)
'effectively preserves the historic federal policy
against piecemeal appeals.'" SEC v. Lucent
Techs., No. 04-2315, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107098, at
*10 (D.N.J. Nov. 16, 2009) (quoting Curtis s-Wright,
446 U.S. at 8). The Third Circuit has cautioned district
courts to be "conservative" in granting Rule 54(b)
certifications and to consider five factors in making its
(1) the relationship between the adjudicated and
unadjudicated claims; (2) the possibility that the need for
review might or might not be mooted by future developments in
the district court; (3) the possibility that the reviewing
court might be obliged to consider the same issue a second
time; (4) the presence or absence of a claim or counterclaim
which could result in set-off against the judgment sought to
be made final; (5) miscellaneous factors such as delay,
economic and solvency considerations, shortening the time of
trial, frivolity of competing claims, expense, and the like.
Berckeley Inv. Grp., Ltd., 455 F.3d at 203 (quoting
Allis-Chalmers Corp. v. Philadelphia Elec. Co., 521
F.2d 360, 364 (3d Cir. 1975)); see also Gerardi v.
Pelullo, 16 F.3d 1363, 1371-72 (3d Cir. 1994).
when considering the factors discussed, the Court sees no
reason to grant Rule 54(b) relief. First and foremost, the
dismissed claims in Plaintiffs Complaint are all related and
based on the same factual allegations that give rise to
Defendants' counterclaims; this weighs against granting
final judgment. See Gerardi, 16 F.3d at 1372.
Second, given that the facts underlying Plaintiffs Complaint
are identical and intertwined with the allegations presented
in Defendants' counterclaims, to grant Rule 54(b) relief
at this juncture implicates that the Third Circuit will hear
this matter twice. Third, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate
any prejudice if the Court were to deny its request. Simply
put, "this case is not the 'infrequent harsh
case' for which Rule 54(b) was adopted, and the greater
interest of judicial economy controls. Church &
Dwight Co. v. Abbott Labs., No. 05-2142, 2007 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 26718, at *9-10 (D.N.J. Apr. 10, 2007) (quoting
Panichella v. Penn. R.R. Co., 252 F.2d 452, 455 (3d
Cir. 1958)). As such, Plaintiffs motion is denied.
carefully reviewed and taken into consideration the
submissions of the parties, as well as the arguments and
exhibits therein presented, and for good cause shown, and for
all of the foregoing reasons, IT IS on this 13th
day of August, 2018, ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Final
Judgment (ECF No. 119) is DENIED.