Rule 54(b) Certification Improper Due To Identical Unadjudicated Claims Pending in the Trial Court


State of Alabama v. Epic Tech, Inc., et al., [Ms. 1200032, May 28, 2021], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Bolin, J.; Parker, C.J., and Wise, Bryan, Sellers, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Bolin, Shaw, Mendheim, and Mitchell, JJ., concur specially) concludes Rule 54(b) certification was improper and dismisses the State’s appeal from the Greene Circuit Court’s order dismissing certain defendants from an action in which the State sought injunctive and declaratory relief to terminate unlawful gambling activities. The Court explains

In this case, the State has asserted identical claims against similarly situated defendants. All the defendants moved the circuit court to dismiss the claims against them. Subsequently, however, a number of the defendants withdrew their motions to dismiss. The circuit court entered an order dismissing the State’s claims as to those defendants who still had motions to dismiss pending and certified that order as final pursuant to Rule 54(b). The circuit court’s order dismissing the claims against some of the defendants left pending in the circuit court claims against other defendants that were identical to the claims adjudicated by the circuit court in the order certified as final pursuant to Rule 54(b). We note that, in addition to the fact that the adjudicated and unadjudicated claims are identical, the likelihood of a future appeal to this Court is almost certain once the circuit court adjudicates the remaining claims. Accordingly, given this Court’s disfavor of Rule 54(b) certifications, the related nature of the unadjudicated claims and the adjudicated claims, and the likelihood of a future appeal regarding the unadjudicated claims, resulting in piecemeal appellate review, we conclude that Rule 54(b) certification is not proper in this case.

Ms. **23-24.

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