Wright Corporation v. General Electric Company

446 U.S. 1 (1980)


Curtiss (P) sued General Electric (D) for reformation of 21 contracts involved in the manufacture of components for nuclear-powered vessels. The contracts totaled $215 million. The claim by P included allegations of fraud, misrepresentation, and breach of contract and sought $19 million from D on the outstanding balance due on a contract already performed. D counterclaimed for $1.9 million in costs incurred as result of extraordinary efforts and sought to recover $52 million by way of unjust enrichment. The district court granted P summary judgment on its outstanding balance due of $19 million notwithstanding a release clause. P then moved for certification of the order as a final judgment under Rule 54(b). Final judgment was entered after the court balanced competing factors and found that the finality of this judgment would advance the interests of sound judicial administration and bring justice to the litigants. The claims were determined to be separate, distinct, and independent of any other claims involved. The complex nature of the remaining claims would span many months if not years, and because of the difference in interest rates and the large amount of money involved, it entered judgment. D appealed. The Court of appeals decided that the counterclaims and possibility of setoff mitigated against resolving this issue and reversed. The Supreme Court granted review.