United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER (DKT 69)
Honorable Candy W. Dale United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court is Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC's
Motion for Permission to Appeal, or, in the Alternative,
Motion for Certification of Question to the Idaho Supreme
Court. (Dkt. 69.) The motion has been fully briefed.
fully reviewed the record herein, the Court finds that the
facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the
briefs and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding
delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the
decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral
argument, the motion will be decided on the record without
oral argument. For the reasons that follow, the Court will
deny the motion.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
14, 2017, Aaron Schuler, a long-haul semi-truck driver,
employed by Cardmoore Trucking Limited Partnership
(Cardmoore) arrived to make a delivery at the Advanced Test
Reactor Complex (ATR Complex), located at the Idaho National
Laboratory (INL) site near Idaho Falls, Idaho. (Dkt. 1 at 2.)
The ATR Complex is a high security location which houses a
nuclear reactor designed to test nuclear fuels and materials
for the United States Navy. (Dkt. 1, 54, 34.) Schuler
sustained serious injuries while making the delivery when a
security barrier was lowered and crushed his leg.
employer, Cardmoore, assigned Schuler as the transport driver
for the June 14, 2017 delivery. Cardmoore is a subsidiary of
Combined Transport Logistics Group, Inc. (Combined). GE
Hitachi Nuclear Energy had contracted with Combined to
transport the June 14, 2017 delivery to the ATR Complex.
Combined is incorporated in Oregon. Schuler claimed and
received worker's compensation benefits in Oregon through
Combined after he was injured at the INL site.
has brought this negligence action against Battelle Energy
Alliance, LLC (BEA) who manages and operates the INL and its
facilities, including the ATR Complex, as a private
contractor for the United States Department of Energy (DOE).
BEA employed the security guards involved in the incident
resulting in Shuler's injuries. The Amended Complaint
raises five negligence claims against BEA: negligence -
respondeat superior liability; negligent entrustment;
negligent supervision; negligent failure to properly train;
and negligent failure to properly maintain and repair. (Dkt.
January 14, 2019, BEA filed a motion for summary judgment,
arguing it was both a Category 1 and Category 2 statutory
employer of Schuler and, therefore, immune from third-party
liability under Idaho's worker's compensation law.
(Dkt. 15.) The parties fully briefed the motion and oral
argument was held on May 30, 2019. In its June 12, 2019
Memorandum Decision and Order, the Court rejected both of
BEA's statutory employer arguments, and denied the motion
for summary judgment. (Dkt. 56.) Following that decision, BEA
filed a motion for reconsideration which the Court also
denied. (Dkt. 59, 66.) BEA now requests permission to appeal,
or, alternatively, for certification of questions to the
Idaho Supreme Court. (Dkt. 69.)
Certification for Permissive Appeal
general rule, a party may seek review of a district
court's rulings only after the entry of final judgment.
In re Cement Antitrust Litig., 673 F.2d 1020, 1027 (9th Cir.
1982). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), however, a district
court may certify an order for immediate appeal where: (1)
the order involves a controlling question of law; (2) as to
which there is a substantial ground for difference of
opinion; and (3) an immediate appeal from the order may
materially advance the ultimate termination of the
litigation. 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b).
certification is a narrow exception to be applied sparingly
and in exceptional circumstances. In re Cement, 673 F.2d at
1026. “The standard to certify a question of law is
high and a district court generally should not permit such an
appeal where it ‘would prolong the litigation rather
than advance its resolution.'” Association of
Irritated Residents v. Fred Schakel Dairy, 634 F.Supp.2d
1081, 1087 (E.D. Cal. 2008) (quoting Syufy Enter. v. Am.
Multi-Cinema, Inc., 694 F.Supp. 725, 729 (N.D. Cal.
1988)). “In applying these standards, the court must
weigh the asserted need for the proposed interlocutory appeal
with the policy in the ordinary case of discouraging
piecemeal appeals.” Id. (quoting In re
Heddendorf, 263 F.2d 887, 889 (1st Cir. 1959)). The party
pursuing the interlocutory appeal bears the burden of
demonstrating the certification requirements of §
1292(b) are met. Couch v. Telescope Inc., 611 F.3d
629, 633 (9th Cir. 2010).
decision to certify an order for interlocutory appeal is
committed to the sound discretion of the district
court.” Villarreal v. Caremark, LLC, 85
F.Supp.3d 1063, 1067 (D. Ariz. 2015) (United States v.
Tenet Healthcare Corp., 2004 WL 3030121, at *1 (C.D.
Cal. Dec. 27, 2004) (citing Swint v. Chambers County
Comm'n,514 U.S. 35, 47 (1995)). “As such,
‘[e]ven when all three statutory criteria are
satisfied, district court judges have ‘unfettered
discretion' to deny certification.'”
Id. (quoting Brizzee v. Fred Meyer Stores,
Inc., 2008 WL 426510, at *3 (D.Or. Feb. 13, 2008)
(quoting Ryan, Beck & Co., LLC v. Fakih, 275
F.Supp.2d 393, 396 (E.D.N.Y. 2003))). If the district court
grants certification, “the court of appeals
nevertheless has discretion ...