COVID-19 UPDATE: We are open! Our team is working and offering consultations via phone, e-mail, and video conferencing.

Ala. R. Civ. P. 54(b) Certification Reversed

Rowland v. Sparkman, Shepard & Morris, P.C., [Ms. 2200092, Apr. 9, 2021] ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. Civ. App. 2021). The court unanimously (Moore, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Edwards, Hanson, and Fridy, JJ., concur) dismisses an appeal from a summary judgment order entered by the Madison Circuit Court and certified as final within the meaning of Ala. R. Civ. P. 54(b). Reviewing case law on the propriety of Rule 54(b) certifications including Baker v. Bennett, 644 So. 2d 901, 903 (Ala. 1994) (Rule 54(b) certification should be entered only in exceptional cases and should not be entered routinely); Branch v. SouthTrust Bank of Dothan, N.A., 514 So. 2d 1373, 1374 (Ala. 1987) (a Rule 54(b) certification should not be entered if the issues relating to the claim being certified and the issues relating to a claim that will remain pending in the trial court are so closely intertwined that separate adjudication would pose an unreasonable risk of inconsistent results); and Howard v. Allstate Insurance Co., 9 So. 3d 1213, 1215 (Ala. 2008) (a summary judgment in favor of one or more, but fewer than all, of the defendants should not be certified as final if the issue or issues relating to the claim upon which the summary judgment was granted and the issue or issues relating to a claim that will remain pending in the trial court are so closely intertwined that separate adjudication would pose an unreasonable risk of inconsistent results), the court concludes the Madison Circuit Court erred in granting Rule 54(b) certification in this case because the remaining claims against all of the remaining defendants should be adjudicated before the Court of Civil Appeals engages in appellate review of only part of the case as those claims are so closely intertwined that the possibility of duplicative appeals involving the same facts is likely and because the parties to the remaining claims could be prejudiced by a premature appellate decision on the merits of the present claim. Accordingly, because the circuit court improperly certified a non-final order as a final judgment, the appeal from that judgment should be dismissed based on a lack of appellate jurisdiction pursuant to Smith v. Slack Alost Dev. Servs. of Alabama, LLC, 32 So. 3d 556 (Ala. 2009) (noting that an appellate court should not review a matter on appeal when the same matter might affect the pending claims against the remaining parties). Ms. **11-12.

Related Document

Categories

Contact Us Today

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.