United States District Court, D. Maine
DAVID J. WIDI, JR., Plaintiff,
PAUL MCNEIL, et al., Defendants.
AMENDED RULE 54(b) CERTIFICATION ORDER ON COUNT
A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
19, 2017, the Court issued an order on David J. Widi,
Jr.'s motion for reconsideration and the Executive Office
of the United States Attorneys' motion for summary
judgment on Count XVIII of Mr. Widi's Second Amended
Complaint. Order on Mot. for Recons. and Renewed Mot. for
Summ. J. (ECF No. 465). In the Order, the Court
concluded that judgment should issue in part on behalf of
David J. Widi, Jr. and in part on behalf of the Executive
Office of the United States Attorneys. Id. at 8. On
July 21, 2017, the Court issued a Rule 54(b) Certification
Order on Count XVIII. (ECF No. 466). On July 31, 2017, the
Court amended its July 19, 2017 Order.Amended Order
on Mot. for Recons. and Renewed Mot. for Summ. J. (ECF
No. 475). The Court now re-issues a final judgment order
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) on Count
XVIII of the Second Amended Complaint.
Rule 54(b) provides in part:
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.
order the entry of a final judgment under Rule 54(b), a court
must first “consider whether the entire case as a whole
and the particular disposition that has been made and for
which the entry of a judgment is sought fall within the scope
of the rule.” 10 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller
& Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure §
2655 (2014 ed.). The “general requirements are that the
case include either multiple claims, multiple parties, or
both and that either one or more but fewer than all the
claims have been finally decided or that all the rights and
liabilities of at least one party have been
adjudicated.” Id. Second, a court must
“expressly find that there is no just reason to delay
an appeal.” Id.
First Circuit has illuminated the requirements for a Rule
54(b) certification. To certify a judgment pursuant to Rule
54(b), a district court must find (1) that the ruling is
final and (2) that there is no just reason for delay.
Nystedt v. Nigro, 700 F.3d 25, 29-30 (1st Cir.
2012). Finality “requires that a judgment
‘dispose of all the rights and liabilities of at least
one party as to at least one
claim.'” Lee-Barnes v. Puerto Ven
Quarry Corp., 513 F.3d 20, 24 (1st Cir. 2008) (quoting
State Street Bank & Trust Co. v. Brockrim, Inc.,
87 F.3d 1487, 1489 (1st Cir. 1996)) (emphasis in
Lee-Barnes); see also Maldonado-Denis v.
Castillo-Rodriguez, 23 F.3d 576, 580 (1st Cir. 1994)
(“[T]he ruling underlying the proposed judgment must
itself be final in the sense that it disposes completely
either of all claims against a given defendant or of some
discrete substantive claim or set of claims against the
defendants generally”) (citing Spiegel v. Trustees
of Tufts College, 843 F.2d 38, 43 (1st Cir. 1988)).
After the court determines finality, it turns to whether
there is no just reason for delay by assessing “(1) any
interrelationship or overlap among the various legal and
factual issues involved in the dismissed and the pending
claims, and (2) any equities and efficiencies implicated by
the requested piecemeal review.” Credit Francais
Int'l, S.A. v. Bio-Vita, Ltd., 78 F.3d 698, 706 (1st
Cir. 1996) (citing Kersey v. Dennison Mfg. Co., 3
F.3d 482, 487 (1st Cir. 1993)). Finally, if a district court
certifies a judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b), “it should
not only make that explicit determination but should also
make specific findings and set forth its reasoning.”
Quinn v. City of Boston, 325 F.3d 18, 26 (1st Cir.
2003) (citing Spiegel, 843 F.2d at 42-43).
November 18, 2013, Mr. Widi filed a second amended complaint
consisting of sixty-nine pages and eighteen counts.
Second Am. Compl. (ECF No. 191). In the main, the
second amended complaint makes a variety of claims against
law enforcement officers who were involved in the
investigation and prosecution of federal charges against Mr.
Widi. Id. at 1-58. Mr. Widi elected to include in
the second amended complaint a Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA)/Privacy Act (PA) count. Id. at 59-62. The
party defendants to Count XVIII are (1) the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), (2) the
Executive Office of the United States Attorneys (EOUSA), and
(3) the Office of Information Policy (OIP). Id. In
the Court's view, its July 31, 2017 Order as amended is a
final order for purposes of the FOIA/PA claims in Count XVIII
as against the ATF, EOUSA and OIP. Thus, the Order resolves
in their entirety “all the rights and liabilities of at
least one party as to at least one claim.”
Lee-Barnes, 513 F.3d at 24.
there any direct “interrelationship or overlap”
between the FOIA/PA claims and the rest of the second amended
complaint. Credit Francais, 78 F.3d at 706. Although
some of the FOIA/PA requests may have some bearing on the
other pending counts, having addressed the remaining counts
in multitudinous motions over the last five years, the Court
is aware of no direct relationship between the seventeen
other remaining counts and the FOIA/PA count, and Mr. Widi
has not asserted that the FOIA/PA information would be
directly relevant to his other claims. Furthermore, Mr. Widi
could have initiated an entirely separate legal action
setting forth his FOIA/PA claims, and if he had done so, the
final order on the FOIA/PA claims would have been subject to
Court views the “equities and efficiencies” as
being in favor of Rule 54(b) certification. Id. at
706. It is true that there is a disinclination to grant
piecemeal appellate review of a case, which is the factor
that caused the Court to deny Rule 54(b) certification in a
separate motion involving one of the other counts. See
Order Den. Defs.' Clark and Lyon's Mot. for Final
J. (ECF No. 361). However, here, because the count is a
stand-alone claim and because the remaining counts are barely
inching toward finality, the Court can see no reason to delay
the final resolution of Mr. Widi's FOIA/PA claims.
accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), the
Court hereby CERTIFIES that its Amended Order dated July 31,
2017 (ECF No. 475) is a FINAL JUDGMENT of the Court and
therefore subject to immediate appeal, if the parties elect
to appeal, to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.