Improper Rule 54(b) Certification

Grimmer v. Williams, etc., [Ms. SC-2022-0903, Aug. 18, 2023] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2023). The Court (Cook, J.; Parker, C.J., and Wise, Sellers, and Stewart, JJ., concur) raises ex mero motu the propriety of the circuit court’s Rule 54(b) certification of its order granting declaratory relief to Robert Williams on his claim that his sister Phyllis Grimmer, as the conservator of their mother Mary Williams’s estate, was not authorized to make “transfer on death” (“TOD”) beneficiary designations on Mary’s financial accounts.

The Court holds

Rule 54(b) “‘does not authorize the entry of final judgment on part of a single claim.’” Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, 939 So. 2d at 27 (citation omitted); Haynes v. Alfa Fin. Corp., 730 So. 2d 178, 181 (Ala. 1999) (“[F]or a Rule 54(b) certification of finality to be effective, it must fully adjudicate at least one claim ….”). Because the circuit court’s summary judgment in favor of Williams only partially disposed of a single claim, the circuit court improperly certified its judgment as final pursuant to Rule 54(b). Accordingly, Grimmer’s appeal is due to be dismissed as having been taken from a nonfinal judgment. Dzwonkowski v. Sonitrol of Mobile, Inc., 892 So. 2d 354, 363 (Ala. 2004) (“A nonfinal judgment will not support an appeal.”)

Ms. *15.

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