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Litigation: NRCP 54(b) Certification of Partial Summary Judgement

NRCP 54(b) allows a Court to make some orders on a motion for summary judgment final while the rest of the case moves forward. A ruling on partial summary judgment is not final and will not compel action by any party unless it is given finality through NRCP 54(b) certification. See NRCP 54; Allis-Chalmers Corp. v. Phila. Elec. Co., 521 F.2d 360, 365 (3d Cir. 1975).[1]  

NRCP 54(b) states, in relevant part “When an action presents more than one claim for relief…, the court may direct entry of a final judgment as to … fewer than all, claims … only if the court expressly determines that there is no just reason for delay. Otherwise, any order or other decision, however designated,… does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims…” This shows that a decision on a partial motion for summary judgment is not final or binding unless it is certified as such under NRCP 54(b).

This reading is further supported by caselaw. See e.g. Cascade Drinking Waters v. Cent. Tel. Co., 88 Nev. 702, 703, 504 P.2d 697, 697 (1972) (“This court has held that a judgment dismissing fewer than all parties to an action without an express determination that there is no just reason for delay by the district court is not a final judgment…”)[2]

Therefore, any order on a motion for partial summary judgment is not final and does not compel action unless it is either certified or incorporated into a final judgment on the entire case. Any order on a partial motion for summary judgment which is not certified is “of an interlocutory nature.” See Curtiss-Wright Corp. v. Gen. Elec. Co., 446 U.S. 1, 5, 100 S. Ct. 1460, 1463 (1980). Furthermore, an order on a motion for partial summary judgment is not appealable unless it is certified pursuant to NRCP 54(b). NRAP 3A(b); Cascade Drinking Waters, 88 Nev. at 703.

At Morris Law Center, we love to dig into the technicalities of the rules. As such, if you are an opposing attorney, do not expect to catch us slipping. However, if you are a fan of legal procedure, give us a call to discuss further.


[1] “Under 54(b) procedure, the essential inquiry is whether, after balancing the competing factors, finality of judgment should be ordered to advance the interests of sound judicial administration and public policy.” While that case considered FRCP 54(b) rather than NRCP 54(b), the reasoning is identical and after the amendments which took effect on March 1st, the rules were deliberately brought into harmony.

[2] See also Allis-Chalmers Corp. v. Phila. Elec. Co., 521 F.2d 360, 367 (3d Cir. 1975) (finding that a “lack of competent Rule 54(b) certification” created a “lack of finality”).

Can You Protect a Dance Move With a Copyright Law

Complex choreography is a creative act and can be registered for copyright protection as long as it meets the other requirements, such as being fixed in some form of media by being recorded. 17 USC § 102(a)(4). However, individual dance moves or poses generally cannot by protected by copyright.

This issue recently gained some attention because Mr. Alfonso Ribeiro attempted to register the copyright for the dance moves that were sometimes referred to as “The Carlton” after the character he portrayed in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Mr. Ribeiro attempted to register the moves in connection with a dispute with the makers of Fortnite. Fortnite is a video game which allows its players to purchase a variety of poses and short dances for expression. One of the dances had some similarity to “The Carlton” dance done by Mr. Ribeiro in the show. Mr. Ribeiro alleged that the inclusion in Fortnite violated his copyright.

However, when he attempted to register the copyright,[1] the U.S. Copyright Office denied the registration. The Copyright Office responded noting that neither individual dance moves nor simple routines can be copyrighted. This was in accordance with the clear intent of Congress during earlier amendments to the copyright act when the House Report noted that “choreographic works do not include social dance steps and simple routines.”[2]

The minimum requirements to acquire copyright protection are low under the law, but there must be a minimum threshold of creativity involved. Further, copyright was not meant to lock away basic building blocks which are needed to develop other works, such as individual dance moves or short sequences.[3] A qualified attorney, such as the intellectual property attorneys at Morris Law Center, can assist if you have other questions about what can be protected by copyright.

And finally, as we always say, “If you think you might need an attorney, you probably do.” Contact us before anything is set in stone. We love answering questions!


By Timothy A. Wiseman, Esq.


[1] The application was made under Service Request Number 1-7226013290 and the relevant correspondence has ID: 1-3DJ4TP3.

[2] H.R. Rep No. 94-1476 p. 54, discussing categories of copyrightable works.

[3] Scénes á faire and commonly used tropes are other examples of building blocks that are part of the public domain and cannot be protected by copyright.

6 Things You Need to Know About Nevada Marijuana Laws in 2019

Recreational marijuana was legalized in Nevada by a ballot initiative in November of 2016, and since then, the industry has boomed. In the first year, revenue from legal sales was 25% more than initially projected[1], with total tax revenue of $69.8 million.[2] What’s more, these first-year figures are set to be surpassed by this year’s numbers.[3] Needless to say, recreational marijuana is becoming a prominent Nevada industry, and more and more average citizens are coming into contact with it. However, just because it is legal state-wide doesn’t mean there aren’t myriad restrictions to follow; marijuana is still a controlled substance. So, to help clear up the confusion, here are some basic things to know about growing, buying, and consuming recreational marijuana in Nevada:

1. Only adults over the age of 21 can legally buy, grow, and consume marijuana.[4]

CLICK HERE to read the full story on The Vegas Post.

Can a Court Judgment be Recorded Against Real Property?

The short answer is “yes.” Not only can you record a judgment against real property, but you will often want to. Obtaining a judgment lien against real property can be a good way to ensure payment of a judgment debt. A lien on the property makes it more difficult for a judgment debtor to transfer an interest in the property and gives the judgment creditor (the person who won the judgment) the ability to take further steps, including foreclosure on the property.

CLICK HERE to read the full story.