ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF THE BOEING COMPANY'S
MOTION FOR ENTRY OF JUDGMENT UNDER SUPERIOR COURT CIVIL RULE
M. Davis Judge.
consideration of Plaintiff The Boeing Company's Motion
for Entry of Judgment Under Superior Court Civil Rule 54(b)
(the "Motion") filed by Plaintiff The Boeing
Company ("Boeing") on July 10, 2017; Spirit
Aerosystems, Inc.'s Opposition to The Boeing
Company's Motion for Entry of Judgment Under Superior
Court Civil Rule 54(b) (the "Opposition") filed by
Defendant Spirit Aerosystems, Inc. ("Spirit") on
July 17, 2017; the arguments presented by the parties on the
Motion and the Opposition at the hearing on July 24, 2017;
the letter filed by Spirit with the Court on July 24, 2017;
and the entire record of this civil proceeding;
Opinion dated June 27, 2017, this Court granted summary
judgment in favor of Spirit. The Court ruled that Spirit did
not breach the terms of an asset purchase agreement and that
Spirit therefore had no indemnification obligation to Boeing.
The Court further required Boeing to reimburse Spirit for its
reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses incurred
in connection with any proceeding for the enforcement of the
asset purchase agreement.
Through the Motion, Boeing asks the Court to enter a final
judgment pursuant to Superior Court Civil Rule 54(b)
("Rule 54(b)") as to the legal issues of liability
resolved on summary judgment. This would allow Boeing to
pursue its appellate rights before the Court decides the
amount of fees and other costs due to Spirit.
54(b) allows the Court to certify a final judgment upon one
or more claims if: "(1) the action involves multiple
claims or parties, (2) at least one claim or the rights and
liabilities of at least one party has been finally decided,
and (3) there is no just reason for delaying an
appeal." In deciding whether there is "just
reason for delay" under prong three, the Court must
consider: "(1) the hardship or injustice suffered by the
moving party in the absence of the final judgment; and (2)
the interest of judicial administration and judicial
economy." This decision is left to the discretion of
the Court; however, the long established policy against
piecemeal appeals requires this Court to exercise that
discretion "sparingly, " "cautiously, "
Court finds that there is "just reason for delaying an
appeal" in this case. Boeing has not articulated any
hardship or injustice that it would suffer if it had to wait
until the Court resolved the issue of costs before appealing
this Court's legal ruling. Boeing began litigating the
issues underlying this dispute in 2005. Delaying an appeal an
additional few months, at most, is not unduly burdensome to
Boeing at this point in the litigation. In addition, Spirit
has already taken steps to place the remaining issues
regarding fees and costs before the Court for resolution.
Court finds that the interest in avoiding piecemeal appeals
outweighs any interest Boeing may have in an immediate
appeal. If the Court certifies a final judgment on the
liability issue only, that appeal, if affirmed, would likely
necessitate a separate appeal by Boeing from the final
judgment as to costs. The issue of costs in this case,
however, is rooted in the issue of liability, which means the
Delaware Supreme Court would again need to revisit the issue
of liability to resolve the second appeal. In contrast, if
the Court enters a final judgment as to liability
and costs owed, the Supreme Court can
simultaneously, in one appeal, address both the Court's
liability determination and the reasonableness of the
Court's fee award. The Court believes this latter
scenario would best serve judicial appellate economy.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff The
Boeing Company's Motion for Entry of Judgment Under
Superior Court Civil Rule 54(b) is DENIED.
Super. Ct. Civ. R. 54(b); see also
Hill Int'l, Inc. v. Opportunity Partners, L.P., 119
A.3d 30, 36 (Del. 2015). The parties for the most part agree
that prongs one and two are satisfied-that the action
involves multiple claims, and at least one of those claims
has been fully and finally decided by the Court. Therefore,
the Court focuses this decision on whether there is
"just reason for delaying an appeal."
Lima Delta Co. v. Glob. Aerospace,
Inc., C.A. No. N14C-02-101, 2016 WL 1169125, at *2 (Del.
Super. Mar. 17, 2016).
See Lima Delta Co., C.A. No.
N14C-02-101, 2016 WL 1169125, at *2; In re Tri-Star
Pictures, Inc., Litig., C.A. No. 9477, 1989 WL 112740,
at * 1160 (Del. Ch. Sept. 26, 1989).
See Republic Envtl. Sys. Inc. v.
RESI Acquisition (Del.) Corp.. C.A. No. 99C-02-194. 1999
WL 464521, at *6 (Del. Super. May 28. 1999) (noting that the
"overriding concern [on a Rule 54(b) motion] is that of
judicial, and more specifically, appellate economy" and
advising trial courts to refrain from "issuing final
judgments on less than all issues if it creates the
possibility of making an appellate Court review the facts and
issues of a case more than once"); see also In re
Explorer Pipeline Co., C.A. No. 18749, 2001 WL 1009302,
at *2 (Del. Ch. Aug. 29, 2001) (explaining that ...