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Rodriguez v. Rooney

August 13, 2010

RODRIGUEZ ET AL
v.
ROONEY ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge or Magistrate Judge Amy J. St. Eve Sitting Judge if Other than Assigned Judge

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

The Court denies Plaintiffs' motion for entry of final judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) [89]. The trial date stands.

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

On June 14, 2010, the Court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment on all counts except Plaintiff Marcus Rodriguez's excessive force claim as alleged in Count III of the First Amended Complaint. Shortly thereafter, the Court set a trial date of November 29, 2010. Before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion for entry of final judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) so that Plaintiffs may immediately appeal the dismissed claims. For the following reasons, the Court denies Plaintiffs' motion.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On April 30, 2009, Plaintiffs Marcus Rodriguez, Vanessa Rodriguez, Maritza MaLave, Luis Stallworth, Alex Garcia, and Caroline Brown brought a seven-count First Amended Complaint alleging violations of their constitutional rights, as well as state law claims of malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and indemnification, against Defendant Chicago Police Officers and the City of Chicago. On March 2, 2010, pursuant to the parties' stipulation to dismiss, the Court dismissed with prejudice Plaintiffs' due process claim as alleged in Count V of the First Amended Complaint against all Defendants. Also, in their response to Defendants' partial motion for summary judgment, Plaintiffs conceded that their conspiracy claim as alleged in Count I should be dismissed, and thus the Court dismissed with prejudice Count I against all Defendants.

At summary judgment, the Court granted Defendants' summary judgment motion and denied Plaintiffs' summary judgment motion concerning Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claims as alleged in Count II of the First Amended Complaint. The Court also granted Defendants' summary judgment motion as to Plaintiffs' state law malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims as alleged in Counts V and VI of the First Amended Complaint. Because none of Plaintiffs' state law claims remained, the Court also dismissed with prejudice Plaintiffs' indemnification claim against the City of Chicago as alleged in Count VII of the First Amended Complaint. On July 19, 2010, the Court denied Caroline Brown's and Vanessa Rodriguez's motion for reconsideration. Thus, the only remaining claim for trial is Marcus Rodriguez's excessive force claim against Defendant Officers Berg, Rooney, McGarry, and Porebski as alleged in Count III of the First Amended Complaint.

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 54(b) contemplates partial final judgment for claims that are unrelated to the ones remaining in the district court. See Marseilles Hydro Power, LLC v. Marseilles Land & Water Co., 518 F.3d 459, 464 (7th Cir. 2008). More specifically, "Rule 54(b) permits entry of a partial final judgment 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." Factory Mutual Ins. Co. v. Bobst Group USA, Inc., 392 F.3d 922, 924 (7th Cir. 2004). As the Seventh Circuit explains,

Rule 54(b) is not intended to provide an option to the district court to certify issues for interlocutory appeal. Rather, Rule 54(b) allows appeal without delay 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. West Am, Ins. Co., 408 F.3d 935, 939 (7th Cir. 2005) (internal citation omitted). The purpose behind the separate and distinct requirement is to "spare the court of appeals from having to keep relearning the facts of a case on successive appeals." Jack Walters & Sons Corp. v. Morton Bldg., Inc., 737 F.2d 698, 702 (7th Cir. 1984).

ANALYSIS

There is considerable factual overlap in the remaining excessive force claim and the dismissed false arrest and malicious prosecution claims that would require a duplication of effort by the appellate court. See id. To recap, at approximately 1:44 p.m on October 28, 2007, a Circuit Court of Cook County Judge signed a search warrant that authorized the search of Marcus Rodriguez and the premises described as 4856 N. Avers 1st Floor Apartment, Multi-Dwelling Building, Chicago, Illinois, Cook County. The warrant also authorized the seizure of ...


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