Appellate Procedure - 54(B) Certification - Firestone v. Weaver


Firestone v. Weaver, [Ms. 1151211, May 12, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2017). In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Parker (Stuart, C.J., and Bolin, Shaw, and Wise, JJ., concur), the Court dismisses the appeal. Firestone sued Weaver, Tooley, “L.C.” and Collins alleging that the defendants conspired to and brutally assaulted Firestone. Firestone was seriously injured in a fire on May 16, 1995. Over fifteen years later in August 2010, Tooley, L.C., and Mickey pleaded guilty to charges of arson and the attempted murder of Firestone. On August 20, 2010, Firestone filed a civil complaint against Weaver, Tooley, L.C., and Mickey asserting claims for conspiracy, outrage, assault and battery, and attempted murder. Tooley, L.C., and Mickey have yet to file a responsive pleading to Firestone’s complaint. The circuit court granted Weaver’s motion for summary judgment and certified the dismissal of Weaver as a final judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b).

Firestone appealed. The Supreme Court raised ex mero motu whether the 54(b) certification was proper. The Court concluded:

In the present case, there is a probability of “[r]epeated appellate review of the same underlying facts.” Smith [v. Slack Alost Development Services of Alabama, L.L.C.,], 32 So. 3d [556, [] 562 [(Ala. 2009)]. Unless Tooley, L.C. and Mickey are dismissed, a judgment, default or otherwise, will be entered against them. Tooley, L.C. and Mickey will then have an opportunity to appeal. Firestone’s claims against the defendants “are so closely intertwined that separate adjudication would pose an unreasonable risk of inconsistent results.” Branch v. SouthTrust Bank of Dothan, N.A., 514 So. 2d 1373,1374 (Ala. 1987). We conclude that the piecemeal adjudication of the claims against the defendants poses an unreasonable risk of inconsistent results.

Ms. *18.

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