Appellate Procedure - Rule 54(B) Certification: Ghee v. Usable Mutual Ins. Co. DBA Blue Advantage Administrators of Arkansas


Ghee v. USAble Mutual Ins. Co. d/b/a Blue Advantage Administrators of Arkansas, [Ms. 1160082, Oct. 27, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2017). This unanimous decision by Justice Murdock (Stuart, C.J., and Bolin, Main, and Bryan, JJ., concur) dismisses the plaintiff’s appeal from the circuit court’s order dismissing the plaintiff’s claims against USAble Mutual Insurance Company. Plaintiff alleged that his decedent died as a result of negligence and other wrongful conduct of the group health insurer in failing to approve certain medical procedures for the plaintiff. Ms. *6-7. The insurer was joined as a defendant with several other healthcare providers, and the plaintiff alleged the wrongful acts of the defendants combined and concurred to cause his decedent’s death. Ms. *7. In granting the insurer’s motion to dismiss based upon defensive ERISA preemption, the Court granted plaintiff leave to amend his complaint while also certifying the dismissal of the insurer as a final judgment under Rule 54(b). Ms. *10-11.

In dismissing the appeal, the Supreme Court held “[t]he circuit court cannot purport to enter a final adjudication of a claim while making it possible for the plaintiff to revive that very claim. Accordingly, the circuit court did not render a proper Rule 54(b) certification, and we do not have before us a final judgment.” Ms. *17. This is the latest in a consistent line of cases in which the Court finds appellate review “in a piecemeal fashion” inappropriate.

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