TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: Jan. 19, 2011
RE: Rule 54, N.D.R.Civ.P., Judgment; Costs
Rule 54 came before the Committee at the September 2010 meeting. The Committee discussed a letter from attorney Pat Morley pointing out that courts were entering final judgments in some matters without taking Rule 54(b)'s requirements into account. The Committee instructed staff to draft amendments to Rule 54's explanatory note that would more fully explain Rule 54(b)'s requirements.
The proposed amendments to Rule 54(b)'s explanatory note are attached. Staff drew language from the Supreme Court's Rule 54(b) case law explaining: prerequisites for entry of judgment under Rule 54(b); what a party must do to obtain a judgment under Rule 54(b); and what the court must do before it enters judgment under Rule 54(b). A copy of Brummund v. Brummund, 2008 ND 224, is attached so the Committee can review the Court's Rule 54(b) standards.
In addition, proposed language is added to the explanatory note to give some guidance as to when an appeal is possible in the absence of Rule 54(b) certification. This guidance is based on a Minnesota Bench and Bar tip, which is attached.
Proposed amendments to Rule 54's explanatory note are attached for the Committee's consideration.