United States District Court, District of Columbia
ADVANCE AMERICA, CASH ADVANCE CENTERS, INC. et al. Plaintiff,
FDIC, et al. Defendant.
Kessler United States District Judge.
Movants, Community Financial Services Association of America,
Ltd. ("CFSA"), and Advance America, Cash Advance
Centers, Inc. ("Advance America"), ask this Court
to enter two orders-the September 25, 2014, Order dismissing
its claims under the Administrative Procedure Act, [Dkt. No.
62], and its December 19, 2016, Order dismissing CFSA as a
party to the case, [Dkt. No. 96]-as final judgments so that
they may appeal those orders to the Court of Appeals. After
consideration of the Movants' Motion [Dkt. No. 110], the
Opposition [Dkt. No. 117], the Reply [Dkt. No. 122],
Movants' Notice of Supplemental Support [Dkt. No. 144],
the Response to the Notice of Supplemental Support [Dkt. No.
147], and the entire record herein, the Motion will be
5, 2014, CFSA and Advance America (collectively
"Original Plaintiffs") commenced this lawsuit.
Complaint [Dkt. No. 1], The Original Plaintiffs alleged that
the Federal Defendants-the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation ("the FDIC"), the Board of Governors of
the Federal Reserve System, and both the Office of the
Comptroller of the Currency and Thomas J. Curry, in his
official capacity as the Comptroller of the Currency
("the OCC")-participated in "Operation Choke
Point, " a campaign initiated by the United States
Department of Justice to force banks to terminate their
business relationships with payday lenders. See
generally First Amended Complaint ("FAC")
[Dkt. No. 12].
Original Plaintiffs brought two distinct categories of claims
against the Federal Defendants. First, they alleged that
certain actions taken by the Federal Defendants as part of
Operation Chokepoint violated various provisions of the
Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C.
§ 551 et seq.. FAC ¶¶ 80-108, 116-44,
152-77. Second, they alleged that Operation Chokepoint
violated the due process rights of CFSA's members, one of
which is Advance America. FAC ¶¶ 109-115, 145-51,
September 25, 2015, in response to Motions to Dismiss brought
by the Federal Defendants, the Court dismissed all of the
Original Plaintiffs' APA claims. CFSA v. FDIC,
132 F.Supp.3d 98, 105-107 (D.D.C. 2015). Subsequently, the
Federal Defendants brought a new Motion to Dismiss, arguing
that CFSA lacked standing to pursue the remaining due process
claims on behalf of its members. [Dkt. No. 73]. On December
19, 2016, the Court granted the Federal Defendants'
Motion, thereby dismissing CFSA as a party to this lawsuit.
CFSA v. FDIC, No. 14 Civ. 953, 2016 WL 7376847
(D.D.C. Dec. 19, 2016) ("CFSA H").
January 16, 2017, CFSA filed the present Motion for Entry of
Final Judgment Pursuant to Rule 54(b), asking the Court to
certify the Orders accompanying the opinions in CFSA
I and CFSA II as final judgments so that they
can be appealed to the Court of Appeals. [Dkt. No. 110]. The
parties fully briefed the Motion for Entry of Final Judgment.
See [Dkt. No. 117] and [Dkt. No. 122].
the Motion for Entry of Final Judgment was pending, several
New Plaintiffs were added to the Complaint, see Order
granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Third
Amended Complaint [Dkt. No. 120], and the Court denied a
Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Advance America
and the New Plaintiffs, see Un-Sealed Memorandum Opinion
("CFSA III") [Dkt. No. 134]. Advance
America and the New Plaintiffs have appealed the denial of
the Motion for Preliminary Injunction to the Court of
Appeals. See Notice of Appeal to D.C. Circuit Court [Dkt. No.
142]. After the appeal was filed, the Movants filed a Notice
of Supplemental Support, arguing that in light of the pending
appeal of the denial of the Motion for Preliminary
Injunction, there were even greater reasons to grant their
Motion for Entry of Final Judgment. [Dkt. No. 144]. The
Federal Defendants filed a Response, renewing their arguments
that the Court should not grant the Motion. [Dkt. No. 147].
54(b) states that "[w]hen 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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). "The rule
does not allow a court to certify any and all eligible
claims, but only those for which 'the court expressly
determines that there is no just reason for delay' of an
appeal." Brooks v. Dist. Hosp. Partners, L.P.,
606 F.3d 800, 806 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
54(b)). Only "exceptional cases" qualify for
certification under Rule 54(b). Bids. Indus. Ass'n of
Super-California v. Babbitt, 161 F.3d 740, 743 (D.C.
Cir. 1998). "Ordinarily, the presumption against
piecemeal appeals will besufficient to deny
certification." Grosdidier v. Chairman, Broad. Bd.
of Governors, 774 F.Supp.2d 76, 123 (D.D.C. 2011).
determine that there is no just reason for delay, the order
the movant seeks to certify must be a final order with
respect to at least one claim. 10 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur
R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 2656 (3d ed.) ("Wright and Miller");
Capital Transit Co. v. District of Columbia. 225 F.2d
38, 40 (D.C. Cir. 1955) ("There must be multiple claims
of which at least one has been adjudicated.") (citation
and quotation marks omitted). If it is final, the Court then
"weighs both 'justice to the litigants' and
'the interest of sound judicial
administration.'" Id. (quoting
Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1,
6, 8 (1980)). "[T]he factors pertaining to judicial
administration include 'whether the claims under review
are separable from the others remaining to be adjudicated and
whether the nature of the claims already determined is such
that no appellate court will have to decide the same issues
more than once even if there are subsequent
appeals.'" Id. (quoting
Curtiss-Wright, 446 U.S. at 8). In contrast, the
factors affecting justice to the parties "will
inevitably differ from case to case." Id.
D.C. Circuit has directed the district courts to "supply
a statement of reasons" when ruling on a motion under
Rule 54(b). Taylor v. FDIC. 132 F.3d 753, 761 (D.C.
Cir. 1997). Absent such a statement, the appellate court may
be "uncertain whether the district judge exercised its